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Standing Committee
for Economic and Commercial Cooperation
of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC)
Tourism Product Development
And Marketing Strategies
In the COMCEC Member Countries
September 2013
Standing Committee
for Economic and Commercial Cooperation
of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC)
September 2013
This report has been commissioned by the COMCEC Coordination Office to Tourism Development
International. Views and opinions expressed in the report are solely those of the authors and do not
represent the official views of the COMCEC Coordination Office or the Member States of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Excerpts from the report can be made as long as references are
provided. All intellectual and industrial property rights for the report belong to the COMCEC
Coordination Office. This report is for individual use and it shall not be used for commercial purposes.
Except for purposes of individual use, this report shall not be reproduced in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying, CD recording, or by any physical or
electronic reproduction system, or translated and provided to the access of any subscriber through
electronic means for commercial purposes without the permission of the COMCEC Coordination
For further information please contact:
COMCEC Coordination Office
Necatibey Caddesi No:110/A
06100 Yücetepe
Phone : 90 312 294 57 10
Fax : 90 312 294 57 77
Web :
INTRODUCTION .....................................................................................................................................1
1. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK .....................................................................................................5
1.1. Defining Tourism Product Development ............................................................................................ 5
1.2. The Tourism Destination, Characteristics And Planning Challenges ....................................... 7
Characteristics Of Tourism Destinations .............................................................................................. 7
Destination Planning And Management Challenges......................................................................... 7
1.3. Variables Influencing Tourism Product Development .................................................................. 9
Influences And Determinants On Tourism Development ........................................................... 10
Other Factors Shaping Tourism Development ................................................................................ 10
1.4. Fundamental Issues In Tourism Product Development And Marketing Planning ............ 12
Institutional Structures .............................................................................................................................. 12
Coordination And Integration ................................................................................................................. 13
Planning System ............................................................................................................................................ 14
1.5. Principles And Procedures For Tourism Product Development .............................................. 16
Market Research ........................................................................................................................................... 17
Market: Product Matching ........................................................................................................................ 17
Tourism/Product Development Areas (TDAs/PDAs) .................................................................. 17
Stakeholder Consultation and Collaboration ................................................................................... 17
Flagship and Hub Development ............................................................................................................. 18
Clusters, Circuits And Events ................................................................................................................... 18
Product Portfolio, Investment Plan and Funding ........................................................................... 19
Human Resource Development .............................................................................................................. 19
Marketing and Promotion ......................................................................................................................... 19
1.6. Steps in the Process ................................................................................................................................... 20
Situation Analysis ......................................................................................................................................... 20
Identifying the Opportunities .................................................................................................................. 20
Priorities ........................................................................................................................................................... 21
Facilitation and Marketing Support ...................................................................................................... 21
Management and Coordination .............................................................................................................. 23
1.7. Identifying and Prioritising Tourism Product Development Opportunities ....................... 23
Economic Priorities...................................................................................................................................... 23
Socio-economic Priorities ......................................................................................................................... 24
Management and Coordination Priorities ......................................................................................... 24
MARKETING ..................................................................................................................................... 26
2.1. Trends in Global Tourist Markets ........................................................................................................ 26
Market conditions and changing source markets .......................................................................... 26
Future Trends and Forecasts in Tourism ........................................................................................... 28
Implications for Tourism Product Development ............................................................................ 29
2.2. Global Trends in Tourism Product Development and Destination .............................................
Marketing Strategies ................................................................................................................................. 30
Adapting Products to Changing Market Trends .............................................................................. 30
Global trends in marketing strategies ................................................................................................. 34
2.3. Destination Successes ............................................................................................................................... 37
New Zealand Tourism ................................................................................................................................. 38
Lake District, UK ............................................................................................................................................ 41
Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative ........................................................................................................... 43
Thailand Green Leaf Initiative ................................................................................................................. 45
Forodhani Park, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania ......................................................................... 48
Australia Youth Marketing ........................................................................................................................ 49
Kenya Recovery Programme ................................................................................................................... 51
COMCEC MEMBER COUNTRIES ...................................................................................................... 53
3.1. COMCEC Member Countries’ Tourism Performance ..................................................................... 53
3.2. COMCEC Member Countries’ Approaches to Tourism Product Development ..................... 56
Institutions/Organisations ....................................................................................................................... 56
Policies and Planning Strategies and Systems ................................................................................. 58
Product Types ................................................................................................................................................ 65
3.3. COMCEC Member Countries’ Marketing Strategies ....................................................................... 73
Overall Scenario for Destination Marketing ..................................................................................... 73
Targeting Markets ........................................................................................................................................ 73
Marketing Trends ......................................................................................................................................... 74
3.4. Challenges and Obstacles Facing COMCEC Member Countries .................................................. 76
Overall Difficulties Facing COMCEC Countries ................................................................................ 76
Difficulties Impacting on Tourism Product Development and Marketing .......................... 77
3.5. Future Tourism Prospects and Implications for Product Development and Marketing
Strategies ................................................................................................................................................................ 80
Addressing the Challenges ........................................................................................................................ 80
Realising the Opportunities ..................................................................................................................... 80
GOOD/BEST PRACTICES IN THE COMCEC REGION ........................................................ 82
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ..................................................................... 121
4.1. Destination Successes – Case Studies from COMCEC Countries ................................................ 82
Turkey, Belek .................................................................................................................................................. 83
Malaysia, Homestay ..................................................................................................................................... 87
Maldives, Gan/Addu Atoll ......................................................................................................................... 90
Gambia, ASSET ............................................................................................................................................... 94
Jordan, Feynan Eco Lodge ......................................................................................................................... 97
Lebanon, Shouf Biosphere Reserve ................................................................................................... 100
Qatar, Aspire Zone ..................................................................................................................................... 103
Benin, ITC-UNCTAD .................................................................................................................................. 106
Tunisia, Thalassotherapy ....................................................................................................................... 108
Egypt, El Gouna ........................................................................................................................................... 111
United Arab Emirates, Ras Al-Khaimah/Real Madrid ............................................................... 117
4.2. Comparisons between COMCEC Member Countries and Other Countries ......................... 118
5.1. Conclusions................................................................................................................................................ 121
Overall Approach to Tourism Product and Marketing Strategy ........................................... 121
Lessons From The Case Studies .......................................................................................................... 122
5.2. Recommendations .................................................................................................................................. 124
Overcoming The Challenges .................................................................................................................. 124
Recommendations: COMCEC Countries with Large and/or Rapidly Growing ......................
Tourism Sectors .......................................................................................................................................... 129
Recommendations: Least Developed COMCEC Countries ....................................................... 131
APPENDICES ...................................................................................................................................... 136
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Standing Committee for the Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of
Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) identified tourism as one of the six areas of cooperation (along
with trade, transport and communications, agriculture, poverty alleviation, and finance) to
achieve its vision “to build a prosperous Islamic Ummah based on solidarity and
interdependence, enhanced mobility and good governance”.
As a key development tool, the strategic objective set for tourism in the COMCEC Strategy1 is:
Developing a sustainable and competitive tourism sector in the COMCEC Region
Five Output Areas are specified in the tourism area for cooperation in the COMCEC Strategy:
regulatory framework, capacity building and training program, private sector involvement,
community-based tourism (CBT) programs, and marketing strategies.
Within the marketing strategies output area, COMCEC will support development of effective
marketing strategies for raising awareness of the existing tourism destinations of the COMCEC
Region through three specific outcomes:
 Diversified tourism products and destinations
 Utilized electronic media in promotional efforts to reach target groups rapidly and
effectively (e-marketing, e-promotion)
 Promoted better image of the COMCEC Region
As a contribution to the fulfilment of these outcomes, the COMCEC Coordination Office
contracted Tourism Development International (TDI) to conduct a program of research,
analysis and assessment for a study Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in
the COMCEC Member Countries.
In preparing the Study, careful attention has been paid to the stated COMCEC missions:
 To produce and disseminate knowledge
 To share experiences and best practices
 To develop a common language and understanding
 To approximate policies
The principles established for the COMCEC Strategy are also followed in the analyses and
recommendations put forward, namely:
 Enhancing mobility
 Strengthening solidarity
 Improving governance
Tourism is increasingly seen by all nations of the world as a significant tool for achieving
economic growth and spreading socio-economic benefits to all parts of their populations.
Making Cooperation Work COMCEC Strategy for Building an Interdependent Islamic World, COMCEC
Coordination Office, October 2012.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Unfettered or misdirected tourism development can, however, cause negative consequences –
on the destination’s economy (through extensive leakages), environment (harming the
biodiversity) and society (by undermining socio-cultural customs of the host population). The
key to successful and sustainable tourism development is careful and integrated planning on a
selective basis. The selection should be made on the basis of:
1. targeting the most productive markets and segments, and
2. providing the infrastructure, products and services to bring maximum benefit to the
destination and fulfilment to the visiting tourist.
The process of tourism development necessitates official support for the sector since it
involves a range of different agencies – typically government, at different levels, the private
sector and the communities in which tourism takes place. Development needs to be
coordinated and integrated so that all links in the chain fit and are in balance with each other.
Creation of the conditions where appropriate tourism products are developed requires
direction and management from government in the form of:
 Vision for the sector
 Development policy and plan – addressing the tourist development priority areas
within the destination (the “where”), the types and scales of tourist product
development (the “what” and “how much”) and the phased timescale of development
(the “when”)
 Enabling strategies and support mechanisms to bring the plan to fruition (covering
infrastructure needs, incentives and other investment inducements, human resource
programs, marketing and promotion)
 A system of monitoring and adjustment since all tourism development plans need to be
on a rolling, iterative basis, taking account of changing market conditions,
technological developments and socio-political issues, to name but a few factors that
are subject to rapid change
A multitude of books, academic articles, reports and studies have been produced based on
research and analysis of tourism markets and segments, and how best to brand a destination,
develop creative strategies, positioning and targeting to realise the opportunities identified
from these assessments. The amount of effort put into tourism product development has
historically been much less, being limited to the United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO)/ European Travel Commission (ETC) Handbook on Tourism Product Development2.
Yet, the two elements are inter-dependent: successful tourism development requires tourism
products and services that are in line with market tastes and trends and that realise maximum
benefits for the host destination. The process of market: product matching is vital in selecting
the right types of tourism product; supported by marketing and promotional strategies and
programs for the products developed that are of a scale and form (in terms of tools and
methods of communication) that resonate with the target markets and segments, and spur
them into action.
A destination cannot realise its full potential unless the range and quality of its tourism
product offering meet the needs and expectations of tourists. Its tourism products are the
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
foundation for a destination’s tourism sector operation. Their attributes are communicated to
the prospective customers through marketing communications. The identification of products
to be developed and the ways these are marketed is based on the “market: product” matching
principle. Market and product research is used to identify the potentially most productive
features to be developed. Destination marketing then communicates these products to the
marketplace. The destination cannot realise its optimal benefits from tourism without its
attractions and facilities being actively and creatively marketed.
The Study is designed to lead from the elaboration of the key principles to guide and underpin
tourism product development and the marketing strategies to support their implementation
through to specific conclusions and recommendations applicable for the different categories of
COMCEC Member Countries in the creation and marketing of successful tourism products.
Section 1 provides the framework for tourism product development and marketing. It
 definitions of key terms;
 outlines of the variables influencing market demand and the types of products
developed to match the market trends;
 explanations of the importance of planning for tourism development and the need for
such planning to be comprehensive, consultative and coordinated, through
appropriate institutional structures;
 details of the principles and procedures to be followed, and
 the steps in the process leading to a prioritised set of tourism product development
opportunities and their marketing support.
Section 2 examines the global tourism marketplace. It identifies market trends and emerging
changes in the types of product demanded by different markets and segments within those
markets. It considers how countries around the world have built tourism development
strategy into their overall socio-economic development framework, and examines the role of
government in planning and facilitating tourism product development and destination
marketing. In order to illustrate the process of successful tourism product development and
marketing, a selection of seven case studies is given from countries at various stages of
development and with varying tourism products.
In Section 3 the performance and characteristics of tourism in the COMCEC Region is examined
and profiled. The systems and approaches used by the different categories of COMCEC Member
Countries to tourism product development and marketing strategy formulation are outlined
and assessed i.e. policies, legal and institutional arrangements. COMCEC Member Countries
face a range of difficulties in developing tourism products that are both in line with market
demand and are acceptable for the society of the host country. These are identified and
discussed. Finally, assessment is made of the future opportunities and prospects for the
COMCEC Region’s tourism sectors achievable through strong product development and
Section 4 presents a series of case studies from the COMCEC Region examining successful
examples across a wide range of facets, namely:
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Coordinated and comprehensive, long term planning,
Rural, community-based tourism,
Regional development within a country,
Small-scale entrepreneurial support creating backward linkages to, and opportunities
for, suppliers to tourism operators,
Ecotourism development involving the private sector,
Environmental protection integrated within the form and delivery of tourism product
development, involving the coordination of multiple players,
Product and market segment diversification,
Value chain analysis creating backward linkages,
Environmentally sensitive planning for large scale tourism development,
Innovation in tourism product development, and
Cooperation and coordination between different national and regional agencies in
tourism product development
Section 5 contains a set of conclusions and recommendations to guide COMCEC Member
Countries in their future tourism product development and marketing strategy. It is presented
as an indicative guide for all countries to consider. Lessons from those COMCEC Member
Countries that have achieved significant success – either as large scale destinations or on a
smaller scale within selected communities – are outlined. Drawing on these examples, and in
recognition of the fact that the COMCEC membership contains countries with differing socioeconomic development policies and at significantly different stages in the tourism
development process, a series of recommendations are presented separately for the
developing and least developed countries in the COMCEC Region. These recommendations
relate to three guiding principles of COMCEC’s strategy of:
1. enhancing mobility (by using technological advances to facilitate the movement of
tourists, and the exchange of knowledge about the development and management of
the tourism sector, between countries),
2. strengthening solidarity (through capacity building and other forms of support
between member countries), and
3. improving governance (by establishing institutional structures and procedures by
which government can better plan for tourism product development, manage the
sector, and market the destination).
The Study’s principal conclusion is that there is both a pressing need, and opportunity, for
fuller and closer collaboration between COMCEC Member Countries in developing a strong and
growing tourism sector. This cooperation can lead to tourism products and services designed
for the market realising high levels of benefit for the destinations through penetrative
marketing strategies. The three areas where technical cooperation and capacity building
between COMCEC Member Countries can most productively take place are: funding of tourism
projects; technical assistance in the form of skills transfer, training and advisory services; and
joint marketing and promotional campaigns.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
At one extreme tourism product development can be defined as embracing all elements with
which the visitor to a destination comes into contact. This includes infrastructure (e.g.
transport, utilities) the service personnel, places of lodging, attractions and activities, facilities
and amenities. At the more focussed level, tourism product development can be defined as
comprising only those attractions, activities and facilities that are specifically provided for the
Individual attractions, activities and facilities are components of a destination’s overall tourism
product; only extremely rarely are they the sole item that tourist visitors experience or utilise
when in the destination. A destination’s tourism product is an amalgam of many different
elements, the provision of, and access to, which the tourist expects to be fully in line with his or
her needs. A destination’s tourism product is, therefore, the lodging facility used, the places
visited, the museums, parks, restaurants, shops and/or theatres patronised, as well as the
journey to, from and around the destination.
A tourism product is comprised of three responses from the tourist:
1. Experiential – festivals, activities, community, event, dining and entertainment,
shopping, safety, service
2. Emotional – human, cultural and historic resources, hospitality
3. Physical – infrastructure, natural resources, accommodation, restaurants, shops and
other buildings visited3
The range of attractions and activities that falls under the umbrella term of ‘tourism products’
is extensive, covering natural features, history and cultural heritage, the built environment,
and the people of the destination themselves. A natural feature such as a waterfall or reef, a
demonstration of traditional music and dance, and a theme park all fall within the umbrella
term of tourism products; as do activities such as tour excursions, mountain biking, sailing or
participating in the preparation of a local dish or a traditional handicraft.
Demand for almost all such features comes, not just from foreign tourists, but also from the
domestic market, and the needs and expectations of the different source markets and
segments within those markets. What is important for destination authorities in supporting
tourism product development is to understand what the levels, characteristics and impact of
demand are likely to be from this multitude of market segments so as to be able to determine
the appropriate policies and strategies to facilitate the creation of the most beneficial tourism
product developments for the destination. The focus of this study is on tourism products which
South African Tourism Planning Toolkit for Local Government, Department of Environmental Affairs
and Tourism, 2009
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
governments can support that lead to the so-called ‘triple bottom line’ benefits of people,
planet and profits thereby creating sustainable development (as illustrated in Figure 1.1).
The study defines tourism product development as the process by which the resources of a
destination are shaped to meet the requirements of international and domestic customers.
This covers everything from man-made facilities or attractions, to activities requiring varying
levels of physical input, and organised events such as festivals and conferences.
Figure 1.1. Components of Sustainability
Source: Tourism Development International
Following the Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations which resulted
in the Cape Town Declaration, many destinations now focus on creating tourism products and
experiences that meet the criteria for responsible tourism i.e. tourism which:
 minimizes negative social, economic and environmental impacts
 generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of
host communities
 improves working conditions and access to the industry
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
 makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage
embracing diversity
 provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful
connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and
environmental issues
 provides access for physically challenged people
 is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local
pride and confidence4
Destinations use various terms to describe tourism product development that seeks to care
equally for the tourist, the host community and the environment of the destination. These
include geotourism as well as sustainable and responsible tourism, while ecotourism is a form
of sustainable tourism5.
Every destination differs in respect of its combination of natural resources, location vis-a-vis
source markets, size and spread of population, history and cultural heritage, socio-economic
and political systems, stage of development and levels of, and possibilities for,
The tourism destination:
 is one product but also many
 involves many stakeholders with differing objectives and requirements,
 is both a physical entity and a socio-cultural one,
 is a mental concept for potential tourists,
 is subject to the influence of current events, natural disasters, terrorism, health scares,
 is subject to historical, real and fictitious events,
 is evaluated subjectively in terms of what represents value-for-money i.e. based on
reality compared with expectations, and
 differs in size, physical attractions, infrastructure, benefits offered to visitors and
degree of its own unique and authentic attributes.6
The complexity of planning for, and managing, tourism in a destination is increased by the
facts that:
Cape Town Declaration, 2002
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 The tourism product is a combination of many different elements, which are rarely
provided by a single supplier,
 For the composite tourism product to be fully successful – both for the host destination
and the visiting tourist – the different components need to be complementary since the
overall performance of the destination’s tourism sector can be determined by the
weakest link in the tourist product chain. Ensuring this necessary balance in terms of
standards between the different elements of the tourism product range can be an
important role for government e.g. through regulatory standards, incentives.
 The operation of tourism products is constrained to a significant degree by rigidity of
supply. This applies particularly to hotels, restaurants, shops, and other fixed site
visitor attractions which are subject to seasonal variations in demand. Figure 1.2.
below illustrate the complexities of the tourism industry. In addition to the entities
directly involved, there are many other entities indirectly associated with tourism but
whose involvement is nevertheless important to the success or otherwise of the
Figure 1.2. – Tourism Value Chain (Entities Directly Involved)
and Booking
In transit
Food and
Bars and
Bus Co/
Night Clubs
Craft Men
Food Shops
Tour Operators and
From origin to
Assets in
Cultural assets:
ethnics, museums,
intangible cultural
assets (music,
legends etc.,
festivals etc.
Natural assets:
lakes, rivers, reefs,
and mountains,
forests, species of
flora and fauna
and Tours
Grocery Shops
and Retail
Guides and
Security and
Bank Services
Internet Cafes
Wellness and
Value Chain Phases
Security &
Infrastructure Support
Source: UNWTO
As well as those entities directly providing services for tourists, there are a large number of
organisations, companies and individuals that are involved in meeting the needs of those in
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
direct contact with tourists. These indirect suppliers can provide agricultural and fishery
products, construction services, furniture and equipment supplies, handicrafts, engineering
and other forms of maintenance, wholesale and retail operations, printing and stationery
supplies, oil stations etc. Maximising the opportunities for local provision of these products
and services is a primary goal of value chain analysis, identifying what are termed as
backward linkages. The aim is that the growth of the tourism sector should lead to the
growth of the industries that supply inputs to it.
Other challenges to be addressed in planning and managing destinations are as follows:
 The development of major tourism attractions and facilities are subject to considerable
lead times i.e. from concept development to land acquisition, consultation, planning
application and approval, feasibility study, financing, building and equipment, and staff
recruitment and training.
 Tourism products are perishable, being fixed in time and space. An unfilled hotel room
on any given day cannot be stored for sale on another day.
 Tourism destination products are intangible in that a visit to a destination comprises
the sequence of “expectations” ahead of arrival, “experiences” while in the destination,
and “memories” after the visit. There are few goods to show for the visit (except
souvenirs) with photographs and videos serving as proxies of the trip.
 Discretionary purpose tourists exhibit a high price elasticity of demand, switching
between destinations according to factors such as price levels in the destination and
exchange rate variations.
 A tourist’s experiences in the destination begin at the point of arrival and continue
until departure. All places visited and people encountered form parts of the visitor
experience. The implications for the destination are twofold: first, to ensure that all
personnel (including officials at airports etc) are fully trained and able to communicate
in a positive way with visitors; and second, for individual operations to ensure that
their client mix is compatible since “other tourists” form part of a tourist’s experience in
the country.
 The great majority of tourists choose and make travel arrangements to visit a
destination in their country of origin, using transport operators, tour operators, travel
agents or online booking agents, most of whom have no tie or commitment to the
destination. The role of intermediaries is, thus, considerable in influencing destination
Where destination authorities seek to plan their tourism product development by “matching”
their resources and assets to the trends and tastes in the range of source markets and
segments, a systematic, building block approach can be most beneficial. As such all destination
authorities will have established, as a minimum, the foundations for tourism product
development, and have a broad understanding of what could be developed for touristic
purposes and what their strategic product development and marketing priorities are.
Nonetheless, there is merit in going through the following check list to ascertain if the
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
directions being pursued are fully appropriate and to identify where gaps need to be
The starting point is to consider the various influences on, and determinants of, tourist
demand, as identified in the UNWTO series of long range tourism forecasting studies published
in the 1990s.7 These reports classified four factors as the having continuing influence on
tourism decade after decade i.e.
Economic – the growth in tourism expenditure is greater than the overall rise in gross
domestic product (GDP). A broad indicator that has proved reliable over the past two
decades is that for each 1% growth in GDP there will be a rise of between 2 and 2.5% in
discretionary travel spending.
Technological – technological developments in transport revolutionised travel over the
past 50 years and will continue to exercise a major influence with increasingly fuel
efficient aircraft and motor vehicles, while electronic technology has given instant
communications access to even the most remote destinations, with social media sites like
TripAdvisor heavily influencing travel choices. Unless destinations fully embrace and
utilise to the full all facets of electronic technology, they cannot realise their full potential
and are likely to be outperformed by competitors.
Political – barriers to travel have progressively been reduced over past decades through
the withdrawal of visa requirements or their replacement by visa on arrival, and the use of
technology-driven systems of personal check based on hand geometry or retina inspection
will further facilitate and speed up frontier procedures.
Demographic – changing demographic patterns such as the ageing of industrialised
populations, the emergence of new family structures, and increased migration will all
continue to have a positive impact on future travel volumes.
In addition to these fundamental influences, the UNWTO studies identify a further six
influences that serve to shape the pattern, scale and forms of tourism development. These are:
 The opposite trends of globalisation and localisation, both of which can be positive for
tourism. Large transnational organisations with economies of scale can offer good
value-for-money for large scale tourism. Those consumers, on the other hand, who
resist globalisation can provide opportunities and a focus for the development of
tourist experiences related to a destination’s cultural and natural resources on a
smaller scale, often in the form of community-based tourism initiatives. Electronic
Tourism to the Year 2000 and Beyond, UNWTO, 1991; Tourism 2020 Vision, UNWTO 1997
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
technology facilitates a blurring between these two extremes, with the large travel and
tourism organisations able to offer customised experiences – a case of thinking global
but acting local.
 Societies are exhibiting a growing socio-environmental awareness in their destination
choice. Conscious of the impact that their and other tourists’ activities have on the
environments and people of the places they visit, and they are keen to minimise their
carbon footprint and ensure that the population of the destination are treated well by
tourism operators. This has led to a range of non-governmental organisations and
ethical tourism advocacy groups such as Tourism Concern, the International Centre for
Responsible Tourism.
 Living and working environments continue to become more stressful as a consequence
of urban crowding and congestion, and the progressive loss of the traditional “job for
life” allied to the corresponding rise of contract and part time work. The squeeze on
free time manifests itself in respect of travel and tourism through shorter duration
 Society’s progressive change to the experience economy necessitates businesses
providing memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the
product - the "experience". In travel and tourism, as consumers become more aware
and informed about destinations and their cultures through electronic technology, so
they expect tailor-made experiences designed for them in the locations they choose to
 The impact of marketing on the types of products developed and destinations chosen is
very high, reflecting the fact that most consumers make their decisions in their country
of residence with limited information about the menu of destinations and
products/experiences available. They are influenced by a range of information sources
(e.g. family, friends and work colleagues) with experience of the destinations they are
considering. Social media sites giving feedback on visits, the general and specialist
media, the travel intermediaries and the paid marketing, promotion and public
relations activities of destinations also influence destination choices. Marketing
communications are being increasingly accurately targeted, focussing messages
towards micro market segments and niches, and communicated more effectively.
 It is a truism to say that tourists will not travel to places where they fear for their
personal safety. However, the incidence of deliberate harm to tourists is very small and
the conservative travel advisory messages from tourist generating countries’
governments can serve to create an excessive concern, or perception, about safety in
many countries.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
To be fully successful tourism development involves the state, the private sector and the
location’s community since, at its simplest, tourism represents a temporary increase of the
population of the destination chosen. The implications are that:
 Planning for tourism is essential,
 The system of planning differs fundamentally from the planning of other economic
sectors, and
 Tourism planning needs to be all-embracing, fully coordinated, undertaken over an
extended time frame, and constantly monitored and adjusted on a rolling, iterative
basis to take account of changing market conditions
The three primary stages necessary for destination authorities in establishing the framework
for tourism product development are:
 Institutional structures for the planning, development, administration and marketing of
 A system of coordination and integration between all levels of government, and with
other government agencies whose activities impinge in some way on tourism (e.g.
transport, public works, education and training),
 Planning system and procedures that provide guidance but, through consultation,
encourages innovation and stimulates investment.
In the first of the following three sub-sections, examination is made of the types of
organisational models that are employed to plan for, coordinate the development of, and
manage the tourism sector. The second sub-section focuses on the need for integration
between the multiple public and private sector entities with a role in tourism.
The third sub-section outlines the reasons why planning for tourism requires a different
approach to other economic sectors. It stresses the need for a planning approach that is
comprehensive, fully coordinated, has a long term perspective but a short term action
programme, and is subject to regular monitoring and adjustment, as required.
The complexity of tourism, and the extensive range of impacts it can have on the environment
and people of a destination, is a major challenge for destinations in the early and growth stages
of tourism development, or where tourism is a major component of the economy. In such
cases, an official “hands off” approach leaving development of the sector to the private sector
can be a significant risk. The great majority of destinations without a large and well-balanced
economy where tourism plays a minor role, therefore, play a significant and central role in
setting policy, strategy and support mechanisms for the development and operation of the
tourism sector. Only three out of every five countries in the initial stages of tourism
development have a dedicated tourism product development function within government8.
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The challenge for governments is to establish an institutional structure that:
 incorporates all entities that have a role to play in facilitating tourism product
development (i.e. various government departments responsible for transport,
infrastructure, education and training, and private sector representatives), or are
impacted by such developments (i.e. local communities), and
 facilitates new ventures that will benefit the destination but without creating a
bureaucracy that stifles the emergence of innovative ideas and leads to lengthy
procedural delays.
The complexity and cross-cutting nature of tourism creates the necessity for coordination, so
destination authorities have to consider whether tourism institutional arrangements should
 Handled through a specialist, dedicated ministry or agency,
 Integrated as a department within another government ministry (e.g. transport,
commerce, public works, culture and arts, environment) depending on the country’s
circumstances and priorities, or
 Incorporated as a part within all the other sectoral government ministries or
There are difficulties whichever approach is taken. If tourism is not accorded specialist
ministry status it tends to be treated as an insignificant sector by government policy makers
and planners; but if it is a dedicated ministry or agency, the problem arises of coordinating the
needs and impacts of the sector which fall within the responsibilities of other government
ministries and departments.
In industrialized countries, tourism may well be a sector of significant scale and activity, but is
frequently not part of the title of the government ministry or department responsible for
policy and management of the sector e.g. tourism falls within the Ministry of Culture, Media
and Sports in the UK, with the Minister responsible for the sector also handling sports.
Even in developing countries, tourism may be an important sector within the economy but, in
many instances, does not always have its own dedicated ministry or department, typically
being linked with other areas of responsibility.
There is no standard organisational model related to the process of tourism product
development, with responsibility spread across different layers and levels of government,
making the task of efficient and effective coordination vital but complex.
Coordination for tourism is needed at both the horizontal (i.e. inter-sectoral between different
government departments and agencies with responsibility for an aspect related to tourism)
and vertical levels (i.e. between different levels of government – central, regional, local).
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The means of achieving an effective system of delegated authority, communication and
coordination between central, regional and local governments varies between countries,
according to government structures and prevailing institutional arrangements. The guiding
principle must be to avoid creating unwieldy bureaucratic structures while consulting widely
with all stakeholders (including the private sector and communities) in developing plans and
strategies for the country and the regions within it. The consultation process needs to ensure
all parties are aware of the full range of impacts of various forms of tourism development, and
to be representative of the divergent views about tourism development and marketing.
At inter-ministerial level, the two main means employed are a form of inter-departmental
coordinating committee or, a combined public-private sector strategy or working group under
the auspices of the ministry responsible for tourism to liaise and work with other government
agencies on relevant issues.
Tourism has a huge range of direct and indirect impacts, as well as creating the need for
special facilities such as commercial lodging. This produces the prima facie case for
government planning and regulation of the sector. Five key factors can be identified in respect
of successful tourism planning:
Planning for the Tourism Sector is Vital
Tourism requires both specialist and general infrastructure, manpower with specific skills and
destination marketing in tourist generating countries – the domain to a considerable extent of
the state. It is an economic sector executed by the private sector. Tourist activity brings visitors
into direct contact with the host population. With this triumvirate of destination interests,
planning for the development and marketing of tourism is unlike that for any other economic
sector and requires special systems, procedures and administrative arrangements.
Tourism Requires a Different Approach to Policy and Planning
The planning of tourism development requires incorporation of a wider range of factors than
is the case for other economic sectors, including:
 the tourism system of demand, supply and distribution,
 the values (expressed in the form of needs, expectations and levels of tolerance), both
of the destination community and of visitors,
 the relationships and inter-linkages between stakeholders in the three interest groups,
 the prevailing planning goals, parameters and regulations,
 the issues of scale (i.e. carrying capacity, thresholds), and
 the requirements for tourism development to meet sustainable development and other
non-economic goals.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism Development Planning Needs to be Fully Comprehensive and
The interdependence of the different elements of the tourism product of which any visitor to a
destination partakes necessitates all such elements to be incorporated within the tourism
development planning system, since a destination will be judged by the weakest link in the
tourism product offering. Furthermore investment for major facilities will be deterred if there
are marked weaknesses in the other components of the tourism product since the
development of features such as hotels are characterised by long lead times, high capital
expenditure, and high upfront costs with only a gradual build up of demand producing a weak
pattern of return on investment in the early years of operation.
Tourism Planning is a Long-Term Process
To provide the justification for major state investment in a major facility like an airport, and to
give certainty to prospective private sector investors in large scale tourism product
developments, tourism planning needs a long term time horizon. This can be difficult to
achieve since two major players in tourism development (i.e. governments and private sector
operators) look for short term returns. Governments’ concern to be re-elected can lead to
lukewarm support for a sector which shows the benefits in a decade’s time or longer; while the
operator’s requirement for profits to satisfy its shareholders can make the long-term nature of
many tourism product developments appear relatively unattractive. This can lead to situations
where a short term planning approach has been adopted in a destination with detrimental
consequences in the longer term right across the triple bottom line – economic returns,
environmental and socio-cultural impacts.
Monitoring and Adjustment
There is a dichotomy in long term planning for tourism. While planning two decades ahead is
necessary for certainty of investment, it has attendant risks because of the changing impact of
the various influences on, and determinants of, tourism, as noted earlier. To resolve this
difficulty, a phased planning approach with a progressive narrowing of the focus of the details
is needed, along the lines of: a long term strategic vision, a three or five year development plan
incorporating specific actions, budget and responsibility allocation, and a detailed one-year
action plan.
This approach involves continuous monitoring to take account of changing market conditions
and other developments in the many variables affecting tourism demand and supply. It
permits evaluation and feedback at each stage with revisions and refinements possible that
take account of changes in the marketplace and the factors influencing it. It enables envisaged
directions in tourism development that are proving difficult to achieve to be stimulated
through government support of one form or another (e.g. incentives, marketing investment); it
enables adjustment to be made to the long term strategy to realise product development or
market opportunities that had not been anticipated; and it enables destination authorities to
focus on the most productive use of its budgetary allocation for destination marketing.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
In summary, the necessary system of tourism planning is a rolling, iterative process. One-off
plans can become quickly outdated, while plans for the short term do not lay the foundations
for developments in the mid- and long-terms.
Nine principles can be identified that underpin all sound tourism product development.9
Figure 1.3 below summarises the specific purpose of each of the activities which are central in
underpinning a sustainable approach to tourism development.
Figure 1.3 - Principles and Procedures of Tourism Product Development
Market Research
Market: Product
Development Areas
Consultation and
Clusters, Circuits and
Product Portfolio and
Investment Plan
Human Resource
Marketing and
Understand profile, characteristics, tasks and trends of markets and
Identify products and services to be developed in line with market
Identify areas within the overall destination
appropriate for specific
types of product development
Ensure the opinions and aspirations of all relevant stakeholders – local,
national, international – are canvassed and taken due account of in the
tourism product development plans prepared
Identify outstanding features within one or more tourism/product
development areas where major products can be developed to constitute
‘hubs’ to attract tourists
Create the ‘spokes’ fed through the ‘hubs’ by bundling together a range of
attractions and activities, creating tourism routes, and organising festivals
and events
Formulate the various tourism product development opportunities into a
cohesive and integrated development plan, and prepare and disseminate a
product investment portfolio for prospective investors
Create vocational training and managerial educational programmes that
produce the level and caliber of personnel needed by the planned tourism
product developments
Feature the tourism product developments in the positioning of individual
tourism development areas as part of the overall destination branding.
Source: Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Explanation of the significance and application of each of these nine principles is outlined in
the following nine sub-sections.
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Market research is the starting point for all tourism product development and the marketing
cycle. It is the basis on which concepts are checked and translated into reality, and then
supported through marketing and promotional action programmes. Understanding the tastes
and trends in demand of tourists is one of the most fundamental requirements for successful
destination tourism product development. Unless we understand what the visitor would like
us to provide it is difficult to be sure that what we offer is acceptable and preferable to that
available in other destinations. Then, once the product opportunities have been assessed and
developed, a targeted marketing campaign converts the potential into demand.
Products and markets are mirror images of each other. In this regard, the starting point in
product development planning typically involves the preparation of a comprehensive
assessment of the destination’s overall political, economic, socio-cultural and technological –
PEST – situation, and an audit/inventory of tourism resources and assets – natural, cultural
and historical – and existing products. Combined with a SWOT analysis this enables a
comprehensive analysis and understanding of the present situation to be developed.
In tourism, it can be argued that the role of marketing precedes the development of the
product. The marketer gathers information regarding the expectations of the target market
(the customers – both domestic and from the various international source regions), and the
destination then uses such information to develop appropriate products.
The establishment of a tourism development strategy related to an expanded range of tourism
products can best be achieved through the designation of a system of tourism development
areas (TDAs) based on separate and distinctive character zones. This approach has the benefit
that it gives the destination authority and the ability to influence – even control - both the
location and type of tourism development that takes place.
Following the identification of stakeholder groups in the areas for proposed tourism product
developments, it is necessary initially to circulate information about the planning process and
the role of consultation. A wide ranging programme of consultation with private sector and
community groups will provide insights into the views, needs and aspirations in order to
develop wide stakeholder consensus on the type and scale of tourism development in the
location. With this information to hand, the tourism product development plan for the location
can be finalised.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
A central component of a destination’s differentiation is a flagship tourism attraction. Flagship
tourism products are those with such strong market appeal that they determine the travel
decision and choice of destination. Their role is therefore vital to destinations. Once a
destination has a flagship attraction, all elements of the tourism sector can benefit.
Cluster Development
Cluster development can take a number of forms:
 linked to a flagship on the ‘hub and spoke’ principle, as in the example of Greenville,
South Carolina10,
 a grouping of attractions and activities in a geographic area that is on a readily
accessible route. If such features are not linked to a flagship, the number of them needs
to be greater,
 a grouping of attractions and activities that are linked through a common theme or
interest e.g. traditional rural lifestyle, cycling/camel safari trail/hiking trails.
Circuits, Routes and Trails
Circuit or trail development as a tourist attraction is not simply putting together a route based
on the location of various features. There has to be a central linking theme or interest, and the
route should provide distinct attractions and activities along it, with a range of facilities at key
places along it. It is the integrated development based on a specific theme that makes the route
Trails can be long distance, developed at a multi-country level, where tourists experience a
small section of it, through to relatively short routes within a country. An example of the
former is The Silk Road, a 4,000 mile long interconnected network of trade routes across the
Asian continent connecting East, South and Western Asia with the Mediterranean, as well as
Northern Africa and Europe. UNWTO is working with national governments to raise the
product offering along the routes and marketing the concept11.
Events and Festivals
The organisation of events and festivals can meet a number of destination tourism sector
 offset seasonal imbalances by holding events in the shoulder and off seasons e.g.
St. Patrick’s Festival (Ireland) in March, Halloween Festival at the end of October
– in places as varied as Pattaya (Thailand), Stratford-upon-Avon (England),
Limoges (France), St. Matthews (Kentucky, USA) and at the various Disney theme
11 and Recreation Development/SC Volume 1 V4.pdf
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
improving international perception and image of the country
attracting visitor segments to whom the destination’s other attractions do not
appeal - open air popular music events are becoming a favoured means of
drawing large audiences outside the main visitor seasons or to attract segments
that might not otherwise consider visiting the destination. The Isle of Wight, a
traditional British family seaside holiday destination, is a case in point12.
The government of a destination which places a strong emphasis on the economic contribution
of the tourism sector should show proactive support for new product development through
the preparation of a clear strategy, a product portfolio of opportunities, and an investment
plan. Indeed without an investment plan, the preparatory work falls into the category of
‘wishful thinking’.
Tourism requires specialist knowledge and skills. Any plan for the growth of an economic
sector needs to ensure that the appropriate human resource capabilities are in place to realise
such development without a major economic leakage in the form of expatriate labour and
management. This involves creating educational and vocational skills training programmes
either within the country, or in collaboration with neighbouring countries, or with countries
with which destination has shared interests and social-cultural systems.
How a destination, or commercial tourism organisation, develops and promotes its products
and/or services is a key factor in the realisation of developmental or economic/financial
objectives. In an activity like tourism where the customer is “remote” from the place he/she is
considering to visit, or from the tourism products and service available, marketing and
promotion is a central component of tourism. It is a fundamental principle that the products
developed should reflect the market’s tastes and trends. It follows then that tourism product
development is only half of the task of developing a successful tourism destination. Once
developed, the products have to be brought to the attention of the market and presented in a
way that stimulates interest, desire and action to purchase.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Once the overall priorities and policies for the tourism sector have been established, there are
five steps to the process of establishing the best product development opportunities and
bringing these successfully and sustainability to the market i.e.
1. establishing the present situation,
2. identifying the opportunities,
3. prioritising the tourism sector’s objectives,
4. supporting the prioritised forms of product development through facilitation and
marketing, and
5. ongoing management and coordination.
The importance and methods of application of this five-step process is examined in the
following sub-sections.
It is important that destinations understand where they fit, and how they are perceived, in the
international marketplace.
The first step is to establish their political and socio-economic pattern and stage of overall
development since this will determine to a considerable extent the form and scale of tourism
development that will be appropriate.
By auditing and critically evaluating the range and standard of infrastructure used by tourists,
the existing facilities, attractions and activities offered to tourists, and the skilled manpower
available, using a set of analytical tools, it will be possible for destinations to understand:
 what their competitive position is,
 where they are in the tourism area life cycle,
 whether their challenges are market-related or product-based, or both, and
 whether, and to what extent, efforts should be placed on marketing or product
It is by the application of these strategic analytical planning tools that a destination can
establish its competitive position and performance as a tourism destination, what the gaps
(and future opportunities) are in its provision of tourist products and experiences, and the
optimal product development and marketing directions to achieve sustainable development of
its tourism sector.
A ‘situation analysis’ will not provide the level of detail required to make a decision on and
move ahead with a specific tourism product development. The prima facie opportunities will
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
need to be verified through a detailed examination of the market potential, profile and
characteristics in order to assess the exact nature of the product that should be developed, and
how it should be presented and marketed.
At the same time, it is important that product development ideas are acceptable to local
communities in which they are planned (i.e. in respect of ‘levels of acceptable change’, and the
extent and nature of benefits for them) and constitute a good ‘fit’ with the aspirations of
private sector investors, developers and operators, and have the potential to produce a good
level of return on investment and profits.
Having moved from possible tourism product development opportunities to those that are
compatible with the destination’s triumvirate of stakeholders – government, private sector and
community – it is then necessary to focus on those that are worthy of official development and
marketing support.
The extent of government intervention varies between countries. At one extreme are many of
the industrialised nations that have a policy of limited involvement, mainly through border
controls, transport infrastructure, the regulation of travel and tourism enterprises, and some
degree of destination marketing.
In sharp contrast are those destinations whose authorities pursue a policy of greater
intervention in tourism through the encouragement and facilitation of, and support for,
tourism development. This can typically be delivered through the provision of market data and
trends information to the private sector, the establishment of human resource education and
training programmes for hospitality and tourism personnel, the availability of fiscal and other
incentives for product development, and destination marketing and promotional activities.
Prospective investors - particularly for larger scale tourism developments - will call for clear
and substantive official support before making their investments. As noted earlier the
justification claimed is:
 the long development lead times,
 the high level of upfront capital costs,
 the gradual, rather than instant, growth of demand (and thus revenues producing
adequate returns on investment and operating profits), and
 the influence of the many exogenous variables combined with intensifying competition
that leads to investor uncertainty.
Five priority needs of prospective investors from destination authorities when considering a
development have been identified in the UNWTO/ETC Handbook on Tourism Product
Development. These are:
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 willingness to share statistics and market research study findings that provide
understanding of the destination’s potential and market needs,
 a clear, established entry point – department and named individual - into the
destination authority, with that access point acting as a ‘one- stop’ shop for all matters
connected with the organisation’s operations in the destination,
 openness to the private sector’s views and opinions – and, in their own words, ‘market
knowledge and experience’ – in both tourism product and market development
strategies and initiatives,
 practical assistance to smooth the path between planning and implementation – not to
waive or circumvent the planning application system but to expedite the approvals
process, and
 provision of the necessary infrastructure, amenities and services to permit their
operation to proceed smoothly e.g. traffic management and policing for an event or
The range of ways in which governments can encourage investment includes:
 grants and fiscal incentives,
 joint financing through public private partnerships (PPPs) for major projects,
 underwriting the new route development costs of transport,
 meeting part of the costs of an international tour operator’s brochure featuring the
 making financial contributions for the provision of facilities and amenities along
tourism trails.
If, as noted earlier, tourism products should reflect the market’s tastes and trends, tourism
product development can be seen to be only half of the task of developing a successful tourism
destination. Once developed, the products have to be brought to the attention of the market
and presented in a way that stimulates interest, desire and action to purchase. A cohesive,
coherent and cogent marketing strategy auctioned through a range of marketing and
promotional activities targeted at the most promising market segments is critically important
to successful tourism product development.
The case for government marketing support for its destination is the fact that the customer is
“remote” from the place he/she is considering to visit, and from the individual tourism
products and services available. The first decision is typically, therefore, the choice of
destination. It has become the norm under such circumstances for the destination authority to
contribute – either fully or jointly with the private sector – towards the creation of a strongly
positive image in the marketplace for the destination. Once the destination is chosen, it is the
responsibility of the providers of the individual tourism facilities, attractions and activities to
attract their customers. The role of the destination authority is thus focussed on destination
image building and maintenance activities (in the form of a mix of tools including destination
website, participation at overseas tourism fairs and exhibitions, organising familiarisation
visits for international travel trade personnel and media representatives, advertising and
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
promotions, and tourist information offices or contracted marketing and/or public relations
representatives in major tourist generating markets).
As stressed in section 1.5. on planning tourism development, there is a paramount need for
continuous monitoring of the progress of the tourism sector. This should take account of the
extent to which developments are being realised in terms of the scale, and to the timeframe,
planned (e.g. in respect of infrastructure, facilities and amenities for tourism, education and
vocational skills training programmes), and market conditions (in particular competitor
destinations’ developments and marketing activities). Keeping all development and
operational elements of the tourism sector on track and in synchronisation with each other
requires careful and insightful management and coordination between all entities involved, led
by a strong government ministry or department for tourism.
In view of the necessity for destinations to select and support those product developments that
are likely to produce maximum benefit for its economy and populations, extra emphasis is
placed in this report on how to identify and prioritise tourism product development
Governments support tourism development for primarily for economic reasons: some place
inward foreign investment as the key priority; while, others support the tourism sector for its
ability to create economic activity – on a small to medium scale – in areas and among
communities that have few alternative forms of development and economic advancement. The
latter approach is certainly the case in the great majority of Least Developed Countries.
It is also important to recognise the significance of domestic tourism demand. Recognising that
tourism also has environmental and socio-cultural impacts, by virtue of taking place in the host
country, destinations seek to shape tourism product development so that in addition to
creating economic benefits it increases the attractions and facilities that the local population
can enjoy while avoiding negative impacts on the area’s natural resources or society.
To meet the variety of objectives set for the tourism sector, there are many approaches that
destinations adopt to tourism product development. The 20 possible criteria used by
governments in determining its priorities, can be grouped under three headings - economic,
socio-economic, and management and coordination – though it is clear that there is a
considerable degree of overlap and interdependence:
 to attract foreign investment
 to achieve more rapid and extensive development of the tourism sector
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 to assist product-market diversification
 to assist product innovation
 to reduce the risk of over-concentration on a narrow product range (and limited
market base) by facilitating the development of a new range of products identified
through market research as being in line with market trends and preferences
 to adjust the seasonal pattern of visitation through product developments that will
spread tourism more evenly across the year
 to increase employment, tourism being a sector that is labour-intensive
 to boost local SME development in order to retain a higher proportion of economic
benefits through the reduction of leakage and increased backward linkages
 to facilitate regional development by improving access to an area or attraction, or
boosting sustainable tourism product development tourism in a part of a country not
benefiting from the sector as much as other parts e.g. rural areas, urban regeneration
 to assist the development of responsible tourism products (i.e. fairness to local
 to support community-based tourism projects
 to seek to alleviate/eradicate poverty through programmes such as Sustainable
Tourism for Eliminating Poverty
 to create a flagship attraction that represents a geographic hub in a part of the country
allowing other complementary products to be developed to create a cluster – can also
be a thematic flagship hub
 to ensure the development of sustainable tourism, balancing economic benefits with
the retention of environmental resources and the host community’s values and culture
 to enhance the quality of the product offering
 to build a strongly positive image of the destination, by endorsing products of prestige
and quality, thereby creating benefits both from tourism and through inward
investment in other industries
 to coordinate tourism product developments that involve multiple assets and entities
 to facilitate tourism product development that is dependent on State intervention and
would not occur otherwise
 to ensure that tourism product development is in line with protection/preservation of
ecologically sensitive environments and the conservation of a community’s cultural
heritage and historic sites
 to coordinate the development and marketing of product clusters and trails/circuits
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The criteria that determine a destination’s priorities in respect of the tourism sector – and
specifically tourism product development – cannot be applied unless the organisational
structures, processes, plans and coordination mechanisms are in place.
Destinations placing strong emphasis on economic contribution need to demonstrate proactive
support for new product development through the preparation of:
 a clear strategy,
 a product portfolio of opportunities, and
 an investment plan.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
International tourist arrivals and receipts reached 1.035 million and $1,075 billion
respectively in 2012, continuing the long term growth trend with global arrivals rising by 3.6%
a year between 2005 and 2012. The world’s emerging economies recorded an average annual
rise of 4.8% a year over this period as against 2.6% by advanced economies14. The leading
tourist receiving areas remains Europe which recorded shares of 52% in arrivals and 43% of
receipts in 2012). Next is the Americas (16% of arrivals and 20% of receipts in 2012). The
fastest growing regions, however, are Asia and the Pacific (up 7% in 2012 to a 23% share of
arrivals and a rise of 6% in receipts to a 30% share). Arrivals and receipts in the overall Africa
region both rose by 6% in 2012 to shares of 5% and 3% respectively. The Middle East
experienced a decline both in arrivals (down 5%) and receipts (fall of 2%) in 2012 due to
continued tensions in some of its destinations. The region’s shares of arrivals and receipts are
5% and 4% respectively.
A review of international reports and trend data indicates the following:
 More and more destinations are seeing tourism as a sector to foster and invest in.
Tourism has become a central element of socio-economic development and a source of
export revenues, jobs, and infrastructure development. Tourism has become one of the
largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world.
 Many new destinations have emerged apart from the traditional favourites of Europe
and North America. South East Asia, the Middle East and West Africa have all seen
growth to varying extents.
 The market share of emerging economies increased from 30% in 1980 to 47% in 2012,
and is expected to reach 57% by 2030, equivalent to over one billion international
tourist arrivals.
 In 2012, travel for holidays, recreation and types of leisure accounted for just over half
of all international tourist arrivals (52% or 536 million arrivals). Some 14% of
international tourists reported travelling for business and professional purposes and
another 27% travelled for other purposes, such as visiting friends and relatives (VFR),
religious reasons and pilgrimages, health treatment, etc.15
Most international travel takes place within traveller's own regions, with about four out of five
worldwide arrivals originating from the same region. The source markets for international
Classification based on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), see the Statistical Annex of the IMF
World Economic Outlook, April 2012 at
Tourism Highlights 2013, UNWTO
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
tourism however have traditionally been largely concentrated in the advanced economies of
Europe, the Americas and Asia and the Pacific. However, with rising levels of disposable
income, many emerging economies have shown fast growth over recent years, especially in a
number of markets in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin
Europe is currently still the world’s largest source region, generating just over half of all
international arrivals worldwide, followed by Asia and the Pacific (23%), the Americas (17%),
the Middle East (3%) and Africa (3%).
Visa‘s 2013 Global Travel Intentions Study confirms that global cross-border tourism is
thriving. The Study, which surveyed 12,631 travellers from 25 countries, estimates an average
global travel budget of US$2,390. Top spenders abroad are the Saudi Arabians, spending an
average of US$6,666 per trip, while Australian (US$4,118) and Chinese travellers (US$3,824)
were not far behind. Future travel budget increases are especially high amongst Asian markets
with a predicted increase of 46%: Travellers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong all plan
to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future. Visa’s regular barometer of travel
trends indicates that the pull of attractions, scenery and rich culture have become stronger
motivating factors for travel than available budgets.
Among travellers across the four global regions surveyed by Visa (Asia-Pacific; the Americas;
the Middle East and Africa; Europe), respondents from Asia-Pacific indicated the strongest
intention (77%) to travel more in the future, mainly within the region itself. The Asian markets
have experienced a huge boom in tourism over the past few years due to the continued
strength of their economies and the implementation of policies that promote cooperation and
coordination in cross-border tourism.
According to UNWTO, China is now the biggest spending nation on outbound tourism, moving
up from seventh in 2005, overtaking Italy, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, the United
States and Germany. Faced with slower rates of growth from the traditional tourist source
regions of Europe and North America, consequent upon the financial crisis of 2008 on and the
subsequent economic downturn, destinations have been increasingly turning their attention to
attracting tourists from those countries with more robust economies, such as China and the
Russian Federation.
The leading tourist generating markets in terms of spending overseas are shown in Figure 2.1.
In rank order, China, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia are the
world’s leading tourist source markets in terms of expenditure. Collectively, these 5 countries
account for over one third (34%) of world tourism spending.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Figure 2.1 - Leading Tourist Source Markets in terms of Expenditure, 2005 – 2012
In terms of future growth, UNWTO’s Tourism Towards 2030 predicts that International tourist
arrivals in the emerging economy destinations of Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern
Europe, Eastern Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East and Africa will grow at double the
pace (+4.4% a year) of that in advanced economy destinations (+2.2% a year). As a result,
arrivals in emerging economies are expected to exceed those in advanced economies by 2015.
Figure 2.2 illustrates the future increase in international tourist arrivals by receiving region.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Figure 2.2 - Forecasts of International Tourist Arrivals to 2030
Source: UNWTO Tourism Towards 2030
In 2030, 57% of international arrivals will be in emerging economy destinations (versus 30%
in 1980) and 43% in advanced economy destinations (versus 70% in 1980). By region, the
strongest growth will be seen in Asia and the Pacific, where arrivals are forecast to increase by
331 million to reach 535 million in 2030 (+4.9% per year). The Middle East and Africa are also
expected to more than double their arrivals in this period, from 61 million to 149 million and
from 50 million to 134 million respectively. Europe (from 475 million to 744 million) and the
Americas (from 150 million to 248 million) will grow comparatively more slowly.
While the market for ‘sun and seaside’ holidays remains strong with growth from Eastern
Europe, Russia and within China, in overall terms there is some evidence that this market is
over-supplied with tour operators forcing down prices. There is also a trend towards more
experiential holidays with visitors seeking education, activities and culture in addition to rest
and relaxation. More frequent shorter holidays, such as ‘city breaks’, have become popular.
This has been partly driven by the growth of low cost carriers (LCCs) in Europe, North America
and South East Asia. The vast majority of leisure travel remains on conventional carriers
however. There is also a trend in developed economies towards more responsible tourism and
greater awareness of tourism’s potential negative effects on the environment.
The changing pattern of international tourism, both occurring presently and anticipated in
coming decades, has the following main implications for destinations in respect of their tourist
product development and marketing strategies;
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
A greater volume and range of tourism product types are needed, both to handle
the increased numbers of tourists and the changing mix of source countries with
differing requirements e.g. the Chinese holiday tourist demands multiple
organised activities as their trips are of shorter duration than the typical visitor
from western markets,
Product development focussed on the natural and cultural heritage of
destinations, reflecting prospective tourists’ increasing knowledge about, and
demand for direct access to, these features of the destinations they visit,
Increased focus on product developments at two extremes: high end attractions
and facilities (responding to rising budgets); and local level, community
developments and activities (giving interested segments the opportunity to
engage with the host population).
A need to take the environmental and social implications of tourism development
into greater consideration, recognising that tourism development can have
significant negative impacts if not responsibly managed.
The three sub-sections above have examined the present performance and trends in
international tourism worldwide and assessed the major implications for future tourism
product development. The next sub-section examines how these factors are being translated
by destinations into tourism product development and marketing strategies.
The 20th century tourism development model saw much large scale beach tourism
development. The resulting product has almost become a price-led global commodity, where
one beach holiday competes with beach holidays anywhere else in the globe. The trend in 21st
century tourism development is however increasingly becoming more sophisticated as
products are more and more designed with specific market segments in mind:
 products for followers of specific sports or other activities;
 design hotels based around interest in specific designers;
 specialist attractions featuring specific themes;
 products themed around food;
 products themed around artistic interest, etc.
Mass tourism products which appeal to large volume tourist markets also continue to be
developed as tourist demand for these types of products continues to grow, albeit at a slower
rate than for the smaller volume product categories. Sun and sand, beach and marine products
are still in demand though an increasing portion of this broad market looks for additional
nature or culture-based features i.e. beach plus segments. These added features can also take
the form of shopping in major malls such as in Dubai and Kuwait, or mega attractions and
architectural icons such as national museums and galleries.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The BRIC countries are a key source of future growth. China has been identified as the future
dominant source of outbound tourism growth for quite some time. Mandarin or Cantonesespeaking sales staff, hotels which do not book Asian guests on the fourth floor (the number
four represents death), hotel reception on the 8th floor (good luck), and congee breakfasts are
becoming a feature of hotels. Visa regulations are being eased.
Changing market conditions require changes to both product and marketing approaches. The
following new or reshaped product development trends are emerging:
Cruise tourism is booming in the 21st century with cruise liners becoming floating cities
carrying as many as 5,000 passengers and a 1,000 member crew. It should be noted however
that cruise tourism (like many aspects of mass tourism) can have significant negative
environmental and social aspects which are often not well understood, and which require
careful management (see case study 2.3.3. Alaska Cruise Initiative).
In parallel with the growth in seas-going cruise tourism, there is also a strong growth in
packaged river and lake cruising, often with cross-selling to previous customers.
Product for Ageing Traditional Markets
More active seniors are already apparent and this will continue to be a feature of key outbound
markets from Europe and Japan. Even the most buoyant tourism market of the 21st century,
China, is rapidly ageing: in 2009 there were 167 million ‘over-60s’, about an eighth of the
population; by 2050 the number of ‘over-60s’ will swell to 480 million16. Medical and shopping
tourism, rail, cruise and spas are emerging products which are expected to perform well.
Youth Market Developments
At the other end of the age scale, affluent youth is also a growing market. Heavily influenced by
new media and social networks, this segment is seeking experiential holidays, often with their
own peers, and can be willing to explore new destinations. Events, cost efficient travel and
budget accommodation are often needed (see case study 2.3.6. Australia Youth Marketing).
The Middle East and South East Asia have an increasingly strong shopping tourism product
appealing to increasing consumerism in both East and West. Shopping at malls is an important
leisure activity for visitors to these regions. Dubai leads the Middle East region with the Dubai
Shopping Festival drawing an estimated 3.5 million visitors in 2011. Shopping is also the main
tourist activity in Kuwait where the Avenues Mall is the key attraction. During shopping
festivals, hotels often record close to 90% occupancy, especially those close to malls. Malaysia
competes with Thailand as a prime shopping destination in South East Asia. A new trend has
emerged where hotels are moving from being “near” to being “inside” malls or connected to
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
them for easy access. Bespoke shopping services at the hotels and even “shopping packages”
offering multi-mall day trips are developing products.
New products are being developed for the luxury traveller, and more destinations are
recognising the value of this segment. Most luxury tourism takes place in the USA and Europe.
However, island destinations (e.g. Mauritius, the Maldives, and the Caribbean), and luxury
safaris (in Kenya and Tanzania) are growing in popularity with the affluent tourist. Cuba and
South East Asia are emerging as ‘new’ luxury destinations according to Euromonitor. That
said, the Middle East is seeing by far the largest growth in both new and up-market hotel
rooms. Growing luxury source markets globally are the BRIC countries, particularly China17.
Changing Lifestyles and the Experience Economy
Apart from the Internet revolution and the virtual worlds which are now possible to
experience at home, there is a growing desire for experience and knowledge in the real world.
This is driving demand for tourism to offer more new experiences, and in particular education
and experience-based products. This trend is particularly relevant to visitor attractions and
nature where more than a passive experience is demanded. For example, next-generation zoos
are emerging in Germany, Spain, the USA and Singapore. Visitor experiences on holiday review
sites such as show that tourists increasing value “happy looking animals” in
spacious natural surroundings. Trends are to develop breeding programs; cameras inside
enclosures in order to follow animals when they are “not on stage”; interactive touch screens;
sensory environmental awareness paths; insight into behavioural experiments; night safaris,
accessible and informative staff and quality restaurants.
A direct result of the electronic technological developments of recent years has been the
facilitation of instant and full access to every part of the world. This in turn is fuelling
increasing interest in the culture and heritage of different societies around the world. Demand
for cultural heritage tourism takes many forms e.g. built heritage (evidenced by continuing
strong interest in World Heritage Site enlisting), manifestations of the social traditions and
skills (e.g. local souks and bazaars, traditional handicrafts, local food and drink), and living
culture, evidenced by the significant growth of arts and music festivals as tourist icons.
In increasingly urbanised societies, interest in nature and a return to nature continues. Most
countries are setting aside more rural land as protected areas, either as candidate World
Heritage Sites or in accordance with the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation
of Nature (IUCN). Guided treks in areas of outstanding natural beauty and significance are
expanding e.g. Ecocamp Patagonia, Argentina18, and Bushcamp Company, Zambia19.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The growth in nature tourism is also reflected in interest in rural tourism and smaller-scale
boutique experiences, such as ‘slow food’ (e.g. SOULFOOD, Serbia20,) or ‘slow tourism’
particularly within Western economies themselves. Demand for “natural luxury” is growing
rapidly e.g. &Beyond Africa, South Africa21.
Medical and Health & Wellness Tourism
Medical tourism is a significant growth area, partly as a result of ageing populations but also
price-driven due to the high cost of treatment in some countries. In the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) area for example healthcare market is on track to grow 11.4% annually to
$44billion until 2015, with specialised healthcare cities and other major hospital projects are
springing up in the region, paving the way for medical tourists. The world’s leading medical
tourism destinations offer excellent value for money: India, Thailand and COMCEC member
Another branch of the broad health tourism market is for thermal spas e.g. in Turkey22,
thalassotherapy (see case study 4.1.9. Tunisia Thalassotherapy), and other self-pampering
Sports Tourism
The economies of cities, regions and entire countries are increasingly reliant on combining
sport and tourism to jump start economic and socio-economic change: The London Olympics
of 2012 and the football World Cup are examples.
Tourists engaged in sports tourism are often high-spending, stay longer than other tourist
categories, and can stimulate other types of tourism. Their direct benefit to a destination is
cash; their indirect benefit can be years of demand from tourists whose interest has been
stimulated by sports facilities and events. There are many reasons for the sport tourism boom.
The continued interest of society in fitness is prompting a shift in tourist patterns. As noted
above, demand for sun and sea vacations, traditionally the main stay of the travel and tourism
industry, is growing at a lower rate than for activity-sport related vacations and a new breed of
tourists keen to attend an ever increasing calendar of readily-accessible mega sporting events.
Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel and tourism industry
(see case study 4.1.7. Aspire Zone, Qatar).
Skiing continues to have its dedicated, growing market and is generally a high-end product.
Climate change is however increasingly affecting the viability of skiing at lower attitudes, and
resort development moves higher and higher. Ski resorts are increasingly selling summertime
hiking and activity packages to improve resort occupancy and vitality.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Religious Tourism
Religious tourism continues to grow as religious revival and increasing wealth in developing
countries spur it on. The re-development of Mecca and Medina has enabled these holy places
to cope with growing volumes of visitors undertaking Hajj and Umrah. Major development is
now taking place in the Shia Holy Cities of Najaf and Karbala, and at other holy sites. Shariacompliant development is part of this trend.
Religious tourism to Christian holy sites in Europe, and to Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh sites in
India and elsewhere also continues to drive product development to cope with mass tourism
and rising expectations regarding quality and safety.
Meetings, Incentive, Conferences, Exhibitions
Meetings, incentive, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) tourism is an emerging aspect of tourism
in many countries. Turkey, Egypt and most Gulf destinations for example have developed, or
are further developing new product in the form of meeting facilities to attract larger numbers
of international delegates. Interest in incentives varies and is closely aligned to the image of
the destination.
There is a worldwide trend to green the tourism industry. Aviation, accommodation and
transport are the three areas where travel and tourism have a major carbon footprint. Public
transport is also the subject of major investment in many destinations. Ecotourism is moving
into the mainstream. There are examples from all parts of the globe, including Australia23,
Finland24, and Thailand (Green Leaf Initiative - see case study 2.3.4.).
Rapid changes in information technology have meant that it is now possible to obtain and store
vast amounts of information on costumer behaviour and buying patterns. Specific groups
sharing common characteristics can be relatively easily identified through data mining. Using
information technology as a source of information and for test marketing it is easier to:
 identify groups of people (segments) who are (or will shortly be) in the market for an
international trip;
 decide whether these are the people who, if they visited, would help fulfil the
destination’s tourism objectives;
 establish whether the destination has the appropriate products and services to meet
their needs;
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 assess whether people in these segments are realistically likely to consider the
 establish their motivations/triggers, buying habits, etc;
 persuade them to visit using appropriate and targeted marketing messages and
channels; and
 evaluate and review the impact of the marketing on the segments that have been
Tourism Ireland for example has identified the following segments of Great Britain market
which offer the most potential for the island of Ireland in 2013 and 2014 (GB Path to
 Social energisers (young, fun-loving urban adventurers);
 Culturally curious (over 45s who want to broaden their minds); and
 Great escapers (younger couples who want to get away from it all)
There are however many different ways in which a market can be segmented.
The focus of tourism marketing is moving from relying on general ‘above the line’ campaigns,
towards boosting this with ‘below the line’ activity, such as public relations (PR) and social
marketing. This switch of focus is being made on two grounds: first, target consumer groups
are increasingly researching their destinations on-line and checking out sites like TripAdvisor;
and, second, it is proving more cost-effective than traditional advertising etc.
The national tourism offices of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) group of
countries have determined that internet-based marketing offers the most cost-effective
opportunity to provide a competitive advantage for the region in its cooperative campaign. Its
e-marketing approaches include the utilisation of social media networking and focus on the
development of an integrative and well-maintained website to increase knowledge and
interest in the region (ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy, 2012-2015)26.
Because of this increasing sophistication, tourism destinations increasing purchase specialist
advice from others to both design and implement marketing campaigns. This is likely to
include advice from advertising and PR agencies; advice from tour operators and on-territory
tourism authority staff; advice from research agencies; advice from trade publications –
especially for niche segments; customer feedback; and statistical analyses of base segment
information. A big divide emerges here between destinations which invest in commissioning
professional marketing campaigns, and those countries who attempt to implement marketing
campaigns ‘in house’, generally due to restricted marketing budgets.
Another example of the increasing specialisation of segmentation can be found in the visiting
friends and relations (VFR) category, already referred to above. For many years, VFR was seen
as one category and was to a large degree not targeted by tourism marketers, since it was
thought to be worth little and hard to affect through marketing activity. Yet it is one of the
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
largest tourism segments in most countries and in fact has very considerable economic impact.
Today some destinations consider VFRs to be not one segment but two, which have very
different features. This was first demonstrated in Northern Ireland where disaggregation of
the VFR category suggested that it comprised two groups: those visiting friends (VFs) and
those visiting relatives (VRs). VRs were found to be approximately four times as numerous as
VFs and the profiles of the two groups differed. VRs tended to be older, family parties with
children, while VFs were younger, travelled in smaller parties and stayed for shorter periods.
A similar re-evaluation was undertaken by Tourism Australia into the backpacker segment.
Research highlighted that backpacker segment was definitely worth targeting because they:
 stay longer than many other segments;
 travel to more places, often remote and poorer ones;
 spend their money locally, and this money generally stays in Australia rather than
being paid overseas through international hotel chains;
 are very likely to return later in life; and
 have a key influence on the fashionability of a destination.
Relationship Marketing
The idea of building up relationships with tourists to encourage them both to be a source of
feedback for market research, as ambassadors, and as potential repeat visitors is currently to
the fore. It is recognised that repeat visitors are of great economic value.
Growth of Social Communications Websites as Part of Destination
The rapid upsurge of social networking and communication sites is having a major impact on
the ways in which travel and tourism products and services are marketing. The monthly use of
Facebook, for example, has risen from 100 million users in 2008, to 500 million in 2010 and 1
billion currently. Usage is particularly high in developing nations like Brazil, India, Indonesia
and Mexico.
Destinations see the opportunity to communicate their products and services, including
through audio-visual means, online to this rapidly growing consumer base. For their part,
prospective tourists are increasingly seeking instant, personalized and bookable services. This
is all evidenced in the rapid growth of usual social communications networks as one of most
important elements of national tourism marketing campaigns. It is however expensive to do
effectively, and not all countries have social media marketing as part of their promotional mix.
Some have yet to develop dedicated tourism marketing websites.
Changes in the Selection of Marketing and Promotional Activities
A well researched and balanced promotional mix remains a key part of marketing good
practice. This splits into two categories: above-the-line (i.e. paid advertising to a large audience
via print, online media, television, radio and cinema); and below-the-line (i.e. sponsorship,
sales promotions, public relations, personal selling, direct marketing, digital and social media).
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
For tourism destinations, the marketing mix generally involves the following:
 Advertising campaigns
 Public relations campaigns
 Social marketing
 Exhibitions
 Sales missions overseas and in-country familiarisation visits
Most major tourism destinations like Thailand, Singapore, Australia and the USA, employ this
combined and balanced mix of above-the-line and below-the-line marketing, promotional and
public relations activities, with extensive use of e-marketing.
The selection of best practice case studies from successful tourism destinations around the
world is made on the grounds of finding examples with relevance to destinations seeking to
further develop the range and type of tourism products offered and their marketing. The
following seven examples relate to the system and process of tourism product development
and marketing. They are chosen to illustrate:
 different facets of effective planning (i.e. the consultative, comprehensive, and
coordinated approach),
 ways to meet set government policies for the tourism sector (e.g. moving towards a
more sustainable approach to tourism that minimises environmental impacts and
provides better participation for local people),
 the adoption of modern marketing strategies and techniques to exploit emerging,
growth market segments.
The seven case studies according to the example of best practice each demonstrates are as
1. New Zealand – as an example of comprehensive and integrated tourism development
2. Lake District, UK – coordination of tourism product development with multiple
players, innovative and sustainable tourism product development
3. Alaska cruise shipping initiative – innovation and regulation as a means of managing
4. Thailand Green Leaf– coordination of developing a green tourism product
5. Forodhani Park, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania – pro-poor tourism development
6. Australia – marketing to the youth segment
7. Kenya – tourism recovery programme
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Unless there is clear direction and systems established for future tourism product
development, the real risk exists of a piecemeal approach without coordination. For that
reason, the institutional arrangements for tourism are of critical importance.
Drawing together the analyses made in section 1, the formula proposed is for an institutional
structure that:
has status and is listened to by other parts of government,
has a strong and effective form of communication with regional and local
provides a clear focal point, an open door and a listening ear for the private sector,
and actively seeks to work in partnership with it,
engages in widespread and meaningful consultation with communities, such
consultation being full, open and ongoing, and, above all,
has a system of coordination and communication in place that ensures that all
players – both directly and indirectly involved in, or impacted by, tourism – are
kept fully in the picture about new and proposed developments.
The case study relating to the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 illustrates the key
principles of consultation and coordination. Of the 92 activities outlined in the Implementation
Plan, 14 are directly related to product development, with roles for numerous public agencies
and private sector interests. The primary responsibility for these developments is spread
across the government departments responsible for tourism, conservation and destination
marketing, regional tourism organisations, the Maori Tourism Council, local authorities, and
the private sector (i.e. both trade bodies and individual investors).
The establishment of a close working relationship between all levels of government and
tourism industry representatives is likely both to be more efficient and illustrate to local
communities that proposed new product developments have been well-researched through
multi-party dialogue. The process of consultation with all parties can increase understanding
and buy in from the population of the location where new developments are proposed.
A layered approach with a central product development planning division and a series of
tourism development coordinating committees at the regional level, working together through
both a regular forum and ongoing dialogue related to specific projects can be effective in
ensuring full and appropriate consultation with all stakeholder groups. This can lead to
coordination and collaboration in the development of tourism products that bring out the
distinctive character of all parts of the country and spread the socio-economic benefits across
the regions.
The New Zealand case study illustrates how tourism is planned in a way that embraces all
stakeholders, and focuses clearly on how the plans are going to be realised.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
New Zealand Tourism
Type of good
National institutional structures
Tourism (domestic and international) generated 6.9 billion NZD (4.15 billion Euro),
or 3.8 per cent of GDP to New Zealand (NZ) in the year to March 2011, employing the
full-time equivalent of 91,900 employees. The current strategy for tourism in NZ, New
Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015, envisions tourism as a leading contributor to a
sustainable economy, underpinned by the values of guardianship (kaitiakitanga) and
hospitality (manaakitanga). It aims to address the global and domestic challenges,
particularly the growing concern regarding the impact of travel on climate change,
rising fuel prices and the growing popularity of electronic marketing and undertake
activities such as recruiting appropriately skilled staff, becoming more
environmentally sustainable and the provision of appropriate, high quality
infrastructure. Its goals are to:
1. become highly competitive, capitalising the unique authentic experiences NZ
has to offer;
2. maintain the profitability of the industry;
3. ensure the protection of the environment and
4. build strong relationships between community and tourism operator.
5. While there is no overarching body there are various stakeholders involved
in the planning process:
Central Government:
Tourism is a recognised key contributor to the ‘Building Export Markets’ in the central
government’s ‘Growth Agenda’ plan. The focus is on international tourism and
growing export earnings and on the contribution tourism makes to ‘Brand New
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism New Zealand (TNZ)
Within that international-facing context, TNZ has the role of ‘destination-New
Zealand’ marketing. In 2013, TNZ released its 2013-16 international destination-NZ
marketing strategy. The ‘Three Year Marketing Strategy FY2014 - FY2016’ outlines
short and long term priority markets, brand promotion, promotion of the
international business events sector and the development of a niche sector for
premium business travel. In 2010, TNZ undertook significant research in order to
identify the key target market, the research carried out across 10 countries identified
the ‘Active Considerers’ to tailor NZ’s promotion, prioritising these markets. The goal
is to encourage those actively considering NZ as a holiday destination to commit to
purchasing. The campaign ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ showcases NZ as fun, popular
and accessible, and focuses on the experiences a visitor can have within the stunning
landscapes and scenery of NZ.
Other Government Agencies
At a national level there are a number of government agencies (such as Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment, Department of Conservation and the Ministry
of Transport) which each undertake a variety of activities key to the health of tourism.
Local Government Authorities
At a regional level, local government authorities across NZ provide tourism with
invaluable support. In return, their respective communities receive a valuable return
on investment.
The Private Sector
Within the private sector a number of the larger operators have developed and are
implementing their own visitor/tourism strategies. The Tourism Industry Association
of New Zealand is a key player in representing the private sector.
Rationale and
justification for
In order to meet the needs of its tourism development, NZ highlights the necessity for
collaboration from various stakeholders. It recognises that the tourism sector cannot
reach its goals in isolation.
Details of
and operation
Public- Private partnership:
The Tourism Growth Partnership (TGP) is a government initiative that will co-invest
in projects which help the tourism sector achieve greater commercial and wider
returns from high-value international visitors. To encourage private sector interest,
the TGP funds 50% of tourism-oriented projects. The TGP programme acts as an
incentive to encourage entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. In the 2013 Budget, the
government allocated 8 million per annum for TGP.
Projects may target one or more points along the tourism value chain. These points
could include market development, distribution, or product and service development.
Key success
features and
Targeted markets
Targeted tourism products
Long and short term strategic planning
Collaboration with all stakeholders
Incentive for private investors
Investment in infrastructure & facilities, conservation, communications
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Sources of
The Lake District case study illustrates how multiple interests among the triumvirate of
stakeholder groups can be brought together to participate in, and support, the sustainable and
innovative development and marketing of an extensive area with outstanding natural assets,
recognising the mutual benefit of working together.
Title & URL
Lake District, UK
Type of good
Coordination of Tourism Product Development (TPD) with multiple partners
Sustainable TDP
The Lake District, in North West England, is renowned for its lakes, forests, mountains
and picturesque valleys. Much of the district is a national park and twelve of the
largest lakes in England are located in the area. It is one of the UK’s most popular
tourism destinations after London. Tourism is the mainstay of its economy. In 2009
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
visitors spent £925.7 million in the Lake District. 15.8 million tourists visited the Lake
District and tourism provided 11,575 jobs (full time equivalents) in the National Park.
There are 3,500 kilometres of ‘rights of way’ for the public, which make it a popular
location for biking and hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Activity products available
in the district include; walking routes, cycling and mountain biking, water sports,
wildlife watching, flying and paragliding, horse riding, etc.
Some key objectives include the following:
 Improving public transport services and traffic management to tackle
congestion and reduce delays.
 Creating a network of pay-as-you-go car and cycle hire fleets, including
recharge stations for electric vehicles.
 Developing safe, continuous networks for walking, cycling and wheelchair use.
 Making paying for, and changing between different modes of travel easier,
through smarter and more integrated ticketing aimed at user markets.
 Targeted marketing and information designed to change visitors' travel
behaviour to, from and around the Lakes.
Cultural tourism has also had an increasingly important role in the Lake District’s
tourism industry. The area has a strong historic tradition of literature and arts,
featuring in the works of famous writers and poets such as Beatrix Potter and William
Wordsworth. Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO world heritage site, is also located in the
Tour operators run specifically themed packages in the area, for example adrenalinefilled activity breaks (survival skills, night hikes, night canoeing, etc) cultural packages
(historical buildings, art exhibitions, garden visits) and luxury weekends (spas, lake
cruises, artisan meals). The Lake District Pass (available on the online shop)
incorporates entry to over 20 of the popular attractions in the area under one ticket.
There is a wide range of accommodation available in the District, catering for all needs
(hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, self-catering, campsites, farmstays, inns and restaurants
with rooms and ‘quirky accommodation’ like huts and cabins).
Rationale and
justification for
The Lake District is made up of many hundreds of small tourism-related businesses.
This project is a successful example of bringing these together to create an
environment-based product.
Details of
and operation
The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) has 22 members who represent
public interest. They are appointed by the Cumbria County Council, District Councils,
Parish Councils and the Secretary of State. These members are the decision makers
and represent the park nationally. The LDNPA also employs around 200 staff as
rangers, planners, archaeologists, administrative staff and in information centres. The
LDNPA also has a large and active Lake District Volunteers Service.
The Lake District National Park Partnership (LDNPP) has the role of developing new
planning policies. It is a major driver in the national park’s achievements and has
much stakeholder representation, made up of a number of representatives from the
public, private, community and voluntary sectors.
Funded by the Department of Transport, the Go Lakes Travel programme is an
initiative aimed at addressing growing traffic problems in the area by changing
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
visitors’ behaviour. In addition, other sponsors and funding agencies are contributing
substantial funds to the Go Lakes marketing and other initiatives.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Partnership Strong environmental focus
Use of sustainable transport options
Targeted marketing and Strong online presence
Local environmental management incentivisation
Low carbon community
© Helen Reynolds, LDNPA & Nick Thorne
The Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative case study is chosen as a good example of how a
destination area can protect itself against over-development and usage. Faced with rapid
growth in cruise ship activity on the area, an initial local initiative has developed into an
industry-wide set of regulations governing the operation of cruise ships.
Title & URL
Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative (now the Commercial Passenger Vessel
Environmental Compliance Program), USA
Type of good
Innovation, regulation
Cruise ship tourism has experienced massive growth in the last thirty years. During
these three decades, the number of people opting to spend their vacation on board
one of these vessels has multiplied by at least 25. Approximately 50 companies
control most cruise ships that carry millions of passengers from one point of the
planet to another. Some of the most popular tourist destinations are those which, at
the same time, are the most sensitive to environmental disturbance.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Big cruise liners can carry up to 5,000 people, including a crew of more than 1,000,
which makes them genuine floating cities with significant economic impact (mostly on
the ship itself). Onboard facilities include swimming pools, theatres, cinemas,
restaurants, shops, saunas, tennis courts, photo processing shops, laundries, and dry
cleaning. All these activities generate hundreds of tons of waste of every kind, some of
which is often thrown into the sea. In addition it is estimated that a cruise ship burns
at least three times more carbon per passenger than an airliner.
By the 1990s Alaskans had become seriously concerned about cruise ships.
Consequently, the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation along with
the United States Coast Guard, launched a cruise ship initiative in December 1999. The
initiative began with meetings between the State, Coast Guard, Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the cruise industry, and environmental groups. The goal was
to discuss the activities and operations of cruise ships with a view toward an
assessment of possible environmental issues. When the workgroups realized there
was little technical data, they developed a plan for sampling wastewater from cruise
ships and for monitoring air emissions. Participation in monitoring was voluntary.
Thirteen of 24 ships refused to participate. The results of monitoring during the
summer of 2000 were disturbing: 79 of 80 samples of ships’ effluent had levels of
faecal coliform or total suspended solids that violated even the weak Clean Water Act
standards of the day by, on average, over 10,000 times, with a high of over 140,000
times the federal standard.
Air emission monitoring also gave reason for concern. The EPA had cited six cruise
ship companies (involving thirteen ships) for air pollution violations in the 1999
season. The situation did not improve. In August 2000, state investigators charged
seven companies for fifteen violations of state smoke-opacity standards. Air emissions
from ship engines are a serious source of pollution with significant human health
implications, because many ships burn bunker fuel, typically what remains of the
crude oil after gasoline and distillate fuel oils are extracted through refining.
Monitoring results led to legislation to regulate the dumping of raw sewage, banned
discharges while ships were within one mile of shore, and empowered the State of
Alaska to regulate black water (sewage) discharged into state waters.
By setting standards, Alaska seeks to ensure wastewater and air emissions released
in state waters meet criteria similar to those for effluent produced on land. If a ship
fails to meet state limits, it is liable to lose its permit for discharge in Alaska waters
and be required to sail beyond state jurisdiction to release wastewater. The State’s
initiatives have had a positive impact on the quality of effluent discharged within
three miles of the shoreline.
Rationale and
justification for
The Initiative tackles the issue of cruise tourism product development, the impacts of
which are often not well understood by aspiring cruise liner destinations. It illustrates
the need to balance tourism development with environmental protection and host
community vigilance.
Details of
In order to operate in Alaskan waters, a Vessel General Permit (VGP) is required.
Registration for this permit is only available to vessels which meet the stringent
effluent criteria including the treatment of wastewater before discharge. As of
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
and operation
Key success
features and
Sources of
December 2013, the 2008 Vessel General Permit (VGP) will be replaced by the 2013
VGP, which regulated 27 specific discharge categories and is aimed at improving the
efficiency of the permit process and provide more clarity. It has advanced in many
areas since the 2008 VGP, especially; reducing the risks of invasive species, increased
protection for the Great Lakes, reducing administration for vessel operators
(electronic record keeping, avoiding duplication)
Introducing environmental controls on polluting aspects of tourism
Host community empowerment
Investment in environmental monitoring and cleaner energy systems
Government engagement in monitoring pollution from tourism
Oceana (2004) Contamination by cruise ships.
Klein, R. (2009) Getting a grip on cruise ship pollution. Friends of the Earth.
This case study demonstrates how an initial campaign by a non-governmental organisation,
aimed at creating awareness of the benefits of adopting sound environmental practices, can be
adopted as official government policy to guide and manage the development of the tourism
The importance of environmental protection in sustainable tourism product development
recognises and responds to three factors:
 first, that sustainability entails development where the environment is not
significantly harmed;
 second, that tourism activity based on environmental features can provide a long
term source of income; and,
 third, that the twenty-first century tourists are increasingly demanding
ecotourism experiences and activities based on the pristine and protected
natural resources of the destination.
Title & URL
Thailand’s Green Leaf initiative
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Type of good
Coordination of developing green tourism product
Thailand’s Green Leaf Foundation has been a key player in the coordination of green
tourism initiatives since its foundation in March 1998. It has the following objectives:
 Promote knowledge and support studies and research in the creation of a
good understanding of environmental conservation.
 Assist owners and operators in the tourism industry to develop environmental
quality standard in their work place.
 Develop standards of environmental practices for tourism and tourismrelated business in responding to consumer’s requirement.
The Foundation has organized many training seminars on environmental educational,
environmental standards, and energy efficiency for tourism practitioners. The focus
was initially on facilitating the efficient use of energy and natural resources under the
theme “Save Money, Save Environment.” The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
supported the programme by conducting regional awareness-building seminars and
trainings including Green Hotel Fairs which were attended by more than 1,000 hotels
across Thailand. An eco- certification program called Green Leaf was created to
institutionalise environmental best-practices for all hotels, as well as to promote the
efforts of those who already contribute to the protection of environment via efficient
management of energy, environmental and natural resources.
TAT launched its Thailand Goes Green promotion at ITB in 2012. The campaign
features the Seven Greens and includes a strong element of regional tourism
promotion as visitors are encouraged to visit remote areas such as the north and
north-east, where TAT is particularly keen to promote sustainable tourism. Green Leaf
hotels are also promoted, and there are now 470 of them certified to various levels.
Thailand’s revenue per available room (RevPAR) grew 15.4 % in 2012 to THB 2,232,
according to STR Global, the leading provider of market information to the hotel
industry. The returning demand levels (+13.3 %) helped boost occupancy 10 % to
69.2 % and grew average daily rate (ADR) 4.9 % to THB 3,226. The increase in hotel
performance was underlined by the growing numbers of visitors to the country as
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Thailand welcomed 22.3 million visitors in 2012.
In 2013, the TAT has further extended Seven Green to include promotion of organic
food and rural development through joint marketing with Thailand’s ‘One village, one
product’ (OTOP) initiative.
Rationale and
justification for
Thailand is the world’s twelfth most popular inbound tourism destination with over
23 million international arrivals in 2012. Thailand faces significant ecological
challenges including water shortages due to less rainfall, massive waste disposal
challenges and extensive coastal tourism development. The Green Leaf initiative
illustrates a long term commitment to the coordination of green tourism.
Details of
and operation
Key success
features and
The Green Leaf Foundation is a key player in TATs Thailand Goes Green campaign. The
Foundation, a non-government organisation (NGO), has existed since 1998 with
support, funding and sponsorship from a wide range of local and international
Sources of
TAT Green Hotels Thailand DVD; World Travel Market interview (November 2012).
Sustained commitment to greening tourism
Recognition that managing tourism’s impacts requires as much if not more
state effort than promoting tourism’s expansion
Bringing together key partners from within and without the tourism industry
Building on success
Inclusive approach, bringing in new partners ass initiative expands
Aims to spread tourism to poorer, remoter areas
Overall Government coordination
Market oriented
Realises the importance of domestic tourism
Realises the importance of marketing
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The pro-poor tourism development programme at Forodhani Park in Zanzibar directly
benefits the Muslim community of the area but, though semi-autonomous, it is part of
Title & URL
Forodhani Park, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Type of good
Pro-poor tourism development
Forodhani Park is a large public space on the seafront of the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar,
Tanzania. A large scale, ambitious regeneration project was completed in 2009 in
cooperation with the Government of Zanzibar. The restoration of Forodhani Park is
part of a comprehensive programme for seafront rehabilitation in Stone Town, a
World Heritage Site.
The project’s goal was to regenerate and rehabilitate the garden, by reconciling its
modern use with its historic tradition, therefore, its original elements were preserved
and restored, and new features were added, aiming to create a contemporary urban
space without destroying the historic significance and character. Today, as in the past,
Forodhani Park functions both as an active meeting place and passive promenade.
The impact of the Park restoration has been:
Creation of 200 new jobs in the construction phase;
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Stimulation of the local economy through Park reconstruction costs of
approximately US$2.4 million;
Generation of employment opportunities in the informal sector; and,
Creation of a more attractive environment for Zanzibaris and visitors.
Rationale and
justification for
Forodhani Park had become a prime area of social gathering in the city. Intense
tourism, leisure activities and successful trade (especially the popular street food
market) meant the challenge identified was finding a balance between controlling the
intense level of activities, which was causing degradation; without inhibiting the longestablished social and commercial interactions which gave the area its historic
Details of
and operation
First proposed in 2001, the initiative is part of a programme to regenerate the
seafront area in the Stone Town. The project was then driven by a steering committee
– the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA)..
During the design, drawing and preparation phase, the steering committee carried
out public consultation with the local community. Three workshops were held in
order to understand public opinion and collect comments. Citizen’s comments were
then taken into account before restoration work started, for example, the
modification of the existing external staircase was a public suggestion.
The total cost of the project was US$ 3.2 million, which was funded by the Zanzibar
Government the World Bank, and other donor organisations.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Responsible tourism management
Community engagement
Micro-enterprise orientated
Local food traditions
Urban regeneration
Retention of open space
Creating local pride in World Heritage
Established scheme for sustainable future management of park
Financial resources generated within the property
Australia recognised the opportunity to use social media to communicate with the youth
market, the section of the population with the highest levels of usage of Facebook and Twitter.
Its campaign has resulted in strong growth in the youth market segment, now accounting for
one-in-every-four arrivals in the country.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
Type of good
Australia marketing to the youth segment
Research-based marketing
Australia’s innovative approach to social media included the highly successful, award
winning Best Job in the World campaign. This concept went viral with worldwide
coverage for a caretaker position on a beautiful Queensland island. The ‘best job’
campaign spawned many of copy cat attempts by other destinations, but Tourism
Australia now has more than four million Facebook fans, 80,000+ followers on
Instagram, and over 40,000 Twitter followers, due to its strong social marketing
campaigns aimed at engagement with consumers. Lee McCabe, Facebook’s global head
of travel, told international delegates at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global
Summit that tour operators, hotels and tourism boards around the world trying to
develop a Facebook strategy should "look no further" than Tourism Australia's
Today youth is an important target segment for Australian tourism, representing 26
per cent (1.6million) of all international visitors to Australia. As the Australian dollar
(A$) strengthens and the cost of backpacking increases, working holidaymakers have
been identified a specific segment within youth. The youth segment spends around
A$13,000 while in Australia, much higher than the average spend by youth travellers
of A$7,000 per trip. 136,155 working holiday visas were granted for the six month
period to 31 December 2012, a 23.2 per cent increase compared to the six month
period to 31 December 2011.
Rationale and
justification for
Tourism Australia and state authorities have conducted extensive market research
into the potential of youth tourism over the past decade. Tourism Victoria for example
has a Backpacker Tourism Strategy. These research-based approaches guide the
campaign. The choice of appropriate social media to attract youth is important.
Details of
and operation
Key success
features and
Sources of
The campaign is planned and commissioned by Tourism Australia and Queensland
state authorities. Campaign design and placement is through an advertising agency,
choosing social and other media appropriate to the target markets
Research-based advertising aimed at specific targets
Use of social media
Tourism Victoria (2009) Backpacker Tourism Action Plan 2009-2013
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Kenya suffered a halving of its tourism sector in consequence of the political disturbances of
2007/8. To regain its position as a warmly hospitable destination, the Jambo! (“welcome”)
campaign featured images of ordinary Kenyans to counter negative perceptions of the country.
Title & URL
Kenya Tourism Recovery Campaign
Kenya Tourist Board stand at World Travel
Market, London in 2010 with Jambo branding
Type of good
Strategic marketing campaign
Kenya is the leading tourism destination in East Africa and its long term growth trend
is positive. International tourism growth was robust until the political violence of
December 2007 and early 2008 saw arrivals drop by almost half, from the 2007
record of over 2 million arrivals. Europe is the main source for international tourism,
with the United Kingdom the largest source market.
These, together with the high spending United States market and in particular new
emerging markets, were the targets of the Kenya’s Tourism Marketing Recovery
Programme, supported by the European Union. The first phase of the recovery
programme related to press and travel trade targeting. The second phase, with a
budget of €3 million, delivered the following activities:
 Development through an advertising agency tender, of an integrated
campaign concept and plan.
 Production of campaign material and media placement.
 Source market targeted campaign on electronic media, print, outdoor and
online options.
 Monitoring and evaluation
The campaign theme was Jambo! Meaning “welcome” and pictures of ordinary
Kenyans were strongly featured to counter negative publicity regarding post-election
communal violence.
Rationale and
Immediately following the campaign tourism numbers recovered to pre-election
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
justification for
levels, illustrating the resilience of Kenya’s tourism appeal. Strongest growth came
from new markets (India, South Africa).
Details of
and operation
The project was managed by the Kenya Tourist Board’s research and marketing
departments, tendering and managing a professional advertising agency. The
European Union also provided a technical adviser and monitoring support.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Professional campaign planning and recovery
Emphasis on in-market research
Tourism recovery
Interview with Robert Travers, EU adviser, August 2013.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The members of COMCEC consists of 57 states in three sub-regions: the Africa sub-region with
17 countries, the Arab sub-region with 22 countries and the Asia sub-region with 16 countries,
with an additional two members – Guyana, Suriname – outside these regional groupings.
Of these countries, 21 are classified by the UN Economic and Social Council as Least Developed
Countries: 13 in the Africa sub-region, 6 in the Arab Group and 2 in the Asia Group.
Listings of COMCEC member countries by region and stage of development are given in
Appendix 2.
International tourism activity in the COMCEC region grew between 2005 and 2010 by 45% and
62% respectively in respect of arrivals and receipts, reaching 152 million international tourist
arrivals and $116.7 billion international tourism receipts. COMCEC countries’ share of global
tourism rose by 3 percentage points to 16.2% of arrivals and from 10.6% to 12.6% of receipts
during this five-year period27.
Data for 34 COMCEC countries in 2011 show a further aggregate rise of 6.4% in arrivals (as
against the worldwide rate of 4.8%), though receipts declined by 6.6%, largely as a result of
the disruption in North African states. International arrivals and receipts data for 2012 are
available only for 8 COMCEC countries. These show aggregate growth exactly in line with the
world figure of 4% both for arrivals and receipts28.
In 2010, the leading 10 COMCEC countries (i.e. Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco,
the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Syria, Tunisia and Kazakhstan in order of tourist arrivals)
accounted for over 80% of international arrivals in the region. Between 2010 and 2011, the
volume of international tourist arrivals in the top ten COMCEC destinations rose from 123
million to in excess of 126 million but with Syria being replaced by Lebanon the total fell back
slightly to 123.3 million in 2012.
International tourism receipts in the top ten COMCEC countries (i.e. with Lebanon and Jordan
replacing Syria and Kazakhstan) totalled just over $100 billion in 2010, but declined slightly to
$98.9 billion in 2011, as a result of a sharp fall in receipts in Egypt. The 2012 figure for
Lebanon is not yet available but for the remaining nine countries, aggregate receipts from
Tourism Outlook 2013. COMCEC Coordination Office.
UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2013 Edition. UNWTO.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
international tourism rose from $92 billion in 2011 to over $94 billion in 2012, fuelled
principally by strong growth in the United Arab Emirates29.
International tourism activity contributes most, in terms of proportion of gross domestic
product and share of exports, in COMCEC countries that have relatively small economies. In
Maldives, tourism receipts accounted for 30% of GDP between 2005 and 2010, and for over
two-thirds of the value of exports; for seven other COMCEC countries (Lebanon, Jordan,
Gambia, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Egypt) it contributed at least 5% of GDP over this period;
and for nine countries other than Maldives (i.e. Lebanon, Albania, Comoros, Palestine, Gambia,
Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Uganda) it made up at least 20% of exports30.
Though UNWTO records tourism activity as accounting for 8% of exports in Least Developed
Countries, the average for COMCEC countries is lower at 6%, and for most COMCEC countries
tourism’s contribution is negligible.
The share of intra-COMCEC tourism in total international tourism activity in COMCEC countries
has shown a decline since 2007 from 36% of arrivals to just under 31% in 2010, and from 33%
of receipts to 29%31. There are a range of reasons for this trend, the most important of which is
the fact that the COMCEC countries with dominant tourism sectors like Turkey, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Egypt, and Tunisia successfully targeted tourists from western countries for resortbased holidays during this period.
Asian Islamic states have experienced continued expansion in tourist arrivals over the past
decade, while growth in the OIC- MENA (Organization of Islamic Countries - Middle East and
North Africa) sub-region has slowed down, and tourism activity in the Sub-Saharan Africa subregion remains small. The OIC - MENA countries exceed those of the OIC – Asia sub-region as a
result of the higher spend per arrival32.
In the Asia sub-region, the best performing COMCEC member countries in terms of
international tourist arrivals in 2012 were Turkey (up 3% to 35.7 million, thereby
consolidating its sixth position in the global league table for international tourist arrivals),
Malaysia (up 1.3% to 25 million (though a large portion of Malaysia’s arrivals relates to crossborder traffic from Singapore), and Indonesia (up 5.2% to 8 million). Other strong performers
in 2012 in terms of growth rate in the Asia grouping of COMCEC countries, and for which data
are available, were Azerbaijan (up 27% to just under 2 million, boosted by hosting the
Eurovision Song Contest), and Kazakhstan (up 8% to 4.4 million)33.
In overall terms, Africa increased international arrivals by an estimated 6% overall in 2012,
the second fastest growth by region after Asia and the Pacific. With 3 million more tourists, the
region exceeded the 50 million mark for the first time ever, reaching a total of 52 million.
International tourism receipts in the countries of the region increased by 6% in real terms to
UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2013 Edition. UNWTO.
Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries -SESRIC, 2012
Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries -SESRIC, 2012
Tourism Outlook 2013. COMCEC Coordination Office. April 2013
UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2013 Edition. UNWTO.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
US$ 34 billion. The region maintained a 5% share in the world’s total arrivals count and 3% in
receipts. Among, COMCEC Africa sub-region members, Tunisia (up 24% to just under 6
million) started to recover from the negative demand trends following the Arab spring
transition, and Cameroon saw a 35% increase to 817,000 arrivals. Significantly a number of
the Least Developed Africa sub-region country members of COMCEC also fared well, albeit
from low starting volumes. 2012 international arrivals rose by 14% in Sierra Leone, while
2011 growth rates above the regional average were achieved in Togo, Uganda, Gambia,
Senegal, Niger, Sudan, and Benin34.
International tourist arrivals in the Middle East are estimated at 52 million in 2012. The region
experienced a 5% drop in arrivals due to continued tensions in some of its destinations. In
international tourism receipts, the region’s decline was limited to 2% in real terms, with
earnings totalling US$ 47 billion. The region has a 5% share in total world arrivals and 4% in
The region showed some very mixed results by destination. Among the COMCEC Arab Group
countries, the largest destination Saudi Arabia reported a 22% fall, as it could not consolidate
its outstanding 61% increase recorded in 2011. Egypt experienced a sustained rebound (up
18% to 11.2 million) after the decline of 2011. Palestine (up 9% to almost half a million
arrivals) and Jordan (up 5% to 4.2 million arrivals) rebounded as well. The United Arab
Emirate of Dubai (up 10% to 9 million arrivals) continued to grow at a sustained pace, while
Oman and Qatar also benefited from strong demand. Lebanon (-18%) is still suffering from the
conflict in neighbouring Syria36.
An increasing ease and availability of travel options is fuelling the tourism boom. This is
particularly prominent in the airline industry where the Middle East has emerged as a
dominant hub. The growth in low cost carriers has been important in Europe and Asia.
Though COMCEC countries fare poorly in the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism
Competitiveness index, with only four members in the top 50 worldwide (i.e. United Arab
Emirates, Malaysia, Qatar and Turkey)37, it is clear that they have the “potential for the
development of a sustainable tourism sector”. However, for that to be sustained and consistent
across all COMCEC countries, they need “to better engage in the long term global tourism
market trends and build sound tourism policies in order to improve competitiveness in the
UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2013
UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2013
UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2013
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013. World Economic Forum.
Tourism Outlook 2013. COMCEC Coordination Office. April 2013
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
In examining the approaches adopted to tourism product development by the COMCEC
Member Countries, the following elements are discussed:
As shown in Appendix 1, all COMCEC Member Countries have a government ministry or
department responsible for tourism. The exact role and range of responsibilities vary from
simply administration/regulation to the full range of administration, policy/strategy/planning,
management and marketing of their country’s tourism sector development. Though tourism
operations predominantly involve private sector investment and management, the tourism
sector is regulated, planned and facilitated by governments throughout the COMCEC region.
COMCEC Member Countries with the most highly developed tourism sectors like Turkey and
Malaysia have fully integrated ministries handling all aspects of tourism. The importance of
tourism to their economies enables the tourism ministry to work with other government
ministries, departments and agencies from a position of strength. They apply sophisticated and
comprehensive approaches to the study and selection of priorities for future tourism and
market development. They have tourism departments within the ministry designated for
tourism – whether that body is a stand-alone entity or linked with another area of government
– where present tourism development and operation is managed and future strategies and
directions are planned and coordinated. As demonstrated through the case studies for Turkey,
Malaysia and Maldives, clear directions for the future development of tourism are
communicated in official documentation and media announcements. This is the case in over
half of the COMCEC Member Countries.
Even for those COMCEC Member Countries with less well-advanced tourism sectors,
government recognition of the potential role of tourism in economic development is generally
high. They face two main difficulties:
 the vital integration of tourism development in aspects that involve other government
bodies can be difficult, necessitating the establishment of an inter-ministerial
coordinating system such as Bangladesh has put in place with its National Tourism
Council; and
 the shortage of the technical, human and financial resources needed to translate
policies into coherent plans and implementation programmes that attract the
necessary investment and communicate effectively to prospective tourist markets.
A number of COMCEC countries, mainly in the Asian sub-region, have established tourism
development corporations both to undertake tourism developments (mainly in the form of
accommodation) and to facilitate private sector investment in tourism product development.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Examples include Pakistan39, Iran40 and, most recently Nigeria41. Other countries have
established national tourism offices as part, or under the direction, of the Ministry as specialist
bodies to oversee and facilitate private sector investment, and to undertake destination
marketing e.g. Bangladesh42, Gambia43 and Guyana44.
Destination marketing is an area where there is considerable variation of approach. While
private sector businesses have the responsibility for attracting their own clientele, it is widely
accepted that governments play a central role in creating a positive image of the destination in
tourist markets. There are two reasons, however, why it is normal for governments to consult
with, and seek the direct involvement of, representatives of tourism businesses in developing
destination tourism marketing strategies and undertaking marketing and promotional
campaigns, namely:
1. the tourism private sector has detailed knowledge of market trends and systems of
operation of the tourism distribution system, and
2. it directly benefits from destination marketing.
In order that destination marketing has the full support of the tourism private sector, a
number of COMCEC countries undertake their marketing through specialist bodies either
under the auspices of the Ministry or chaired by the Minister with membership drawn across
both the public and private sectors e.g. the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations
Corporation45, Jordan Tourism Board46.
Increasing numbers of COMCEC Member Countries are developing meetings, convention and
exhibition centres and are marketing these through the designated marketing bodies. In order
to target the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) tourism sector, many city
destinations use convention and visitor bureaus (jointly funded by one or other or a
combination of government subvention, hotel taxes and private membership) in many
destinations. This model has started to be adopted in COMCEC Member Countries in its large
cities e.g. Jakarta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Indonesia47, Azerbaijan Convention
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism Policies
The survey of national tourism administrations for this Study into the policies established for
the development of the tourism sectors of COMCEC Member Countries indicates that the key
emphases are on:
 sustainable and responsible development that benefits both the overall economy and
local communities while protecting the natural environment and avoiding sociocultural disruption ,
 diversification of both products and markets to avoid over-dependence on a limited
product offering and/or market appeal and to reduce seasonality,
 innovation, originality and authenticity in the types of tourism product developed,
 regional tourism development within the destination to broaden the socio-economic
benefits of tourism to as large a proportion of the population as possible.
While the principles of sustainable development to benefit local societies apply widely across
all COMCEC Member Countries, there are variations in other priorities and objectives
according to the stage of development of their tourism sectors.
Countries with major tourism sectors
For countries with established tourism sectors (see listing in Appendix 2), the emphasis in
tourism policy, while meeting the three bottom line objectives of economic benefit,
environmental preservation and socio-cultural protection, is on the aspects of:
 diversification of product offer, and market appeal (e.g. Turkey’s plan to develop its
health and thermal tourism and winter sports sectors49, and
 regional development within the country to spread the economic benefits across a
wider proportion of the population (e.g. Maldives – see case study 4.1.3).
Note that countries may be categorised as having a major tourism sector when their inbound
tourism is lower than others but where tourism constitutes a high proportion of the country’s
GDP, such as in the case of Maldives.
Countries in the growth stage of the tourism area life cycle50
An examination of mission and policy statements for countries in the growth stage of the
tourism area life cycle (See listing in Appendix 2) indicates a commitment to a controlled
pursuit of the economic benefits to be gained from tourism. This indicates the realisation that
unfettered and unplanned expansion can result in high economic leakages (through the need
to import goods demanded by tourists, and dependence on foreign personnel), as well as
environmental degradation and damaging impacts on the host population social and cultural
The Concept of a Tourist Area Cycle of Evolution. Butler, R.W. (1980). Canadian Geographer.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The need to achieve balanced development of the sector so that growth is realised that meets
the demands of tourists while bringing strong benefits to the country is borne out in mission
statements of the following three countries selected from the COMCEC sub-regions:
To develop an innovative, dynamic and sustainable tourism industry that is flexibly
responsive to customer preferences, community values and business needs,
contributing strongly to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom of Bahrain51.
Brunei Darussalam:
To act as a catalyst for change and to grow a sustainable, socially and environmentally
responsible tourism industry for the benefit of the nation52.
The Gambian Tourism Authority is dedicated to give the tourist a uniquely rewarding
experience through an integrated high quality product/service offering that would
promote responsible and valued partnerships in tourism for the socio-economic
benefit of the Gambian people53.
Countries in the early stage of tourism development
Those COMCEC countries which have not yet reached the stage in the tourism area life cycle of
sustained growth (see listing in Appendix 2) tend to focus on product developments of limited
scale with strong emphasis on community benefits and participation. Many are clearly
determined to avoid what they see as mass tourism.
This is particularly the case for Africa sub-region COMCEC countries like Gabon which fear that
large scale tourism would have a damaging impact on the environment and local culture. It
wishes, instead, to develop high quality tourism, which protects nature and people, preserves
biodiversity and the culture of local population groups, and which in turn contributes high
added value to Gabon's economic and social development54.
The Planning Approach
The use of the long term comprehensive master plan for tourism has been criticised on the
grounds that the market and operating environment for tourism is subject to very many
influences and exogenous variables (as illustrated in section 1). These can fluctuate year-on
54 sthash.wjiAamGq.dpuf
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
year so that any detailed plan beyond a few years ahead can become outdated and
Though the term “master plan” is still commonly used in both COMCEC and non-COMCEC
countries, in practice these plans provide goals and strategies by which these will be achieved
through the identification of the types, phasing and geographic areas within the country for
tourism development. The value of a long term perspective is that it can:
 provide an indication of intent, and guidelines, for interested investors and developers,
 deter them from undertaking developments that prove sub-optimal or even counterproductive for the country.
The need for this long term planning guideline and framework is equally strong wherever the
destination is on the tourism area life cycle. It serves to channel future development in line
with the destination’s objectives and, particularly important for countries in the early stages of
tourism growth, it shows prospective investors the types of opportunity that will be
appropriate and supported.
The practice of issuing directions for the mid-and-long term development of the tourism sector
is the norm for many COMCEC Member Countries, whether with established tourism sectors or
with tourism in its early stage of development. These can give guidance on the scale and
location of tourism development (i.e. zones), institutional arrangements and support,
legislation and regulation, quality standards, and human resource development.
In many cases this guidance takes the form of strategic (or what are referred to as “master“)
plans. However, in other cases (typically countries in the early stages of tourism development)
the framework and goals for future tourism development come in the form of a government
paper or through policy and strategy statements from the tourism ministry.
Leading COMCEC tourism destinations
In the case of COMCEC countries, the long term strategic plan is then followed up through area
development or tourism type thematic plans with a shorter time horizon – of up to five years.
Taking the leading COMCEC tourism destinations of Turkey, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the
United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Tunisia, Kazakhstan and Lebanon, the development plans in
place are as follows:
 Turkey is following a comprehensive and integrated tourism development strategy
which has “the primary objective of guiding the travel and tourism industry at
production management and implementation phases, by putting forth a roadmap for
the sector”56. This overall plan is being supplemented and taken to a more detailed
Master Planners & Master Planning: Tourism Planning & Development in the Third World. Peter M.
Burns. University of Surrey. 1998
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
stage through regional plans (e.g. South Anatolia, Eastern Black Sea) and thematic
plans (e.g. thermal tourism, health tourism).
Malaysia: Malaysia Tourism Transformation Programme, Five Year Tourism
Development Plan for Langkawi announced in 2012 budget, Sabah Tourism Master
Plan 2011 -2025, National Eco-tourism Plan, Rural Tourism Plan, and various other
regional plans
Saudi Arabia: National Tourism Development Project to 2020, regional development
Egypt: National Sustainable Tourism Strategic Master Plan to 2020, regional
development plans
United Arab Emirates: Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020, Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 Master
Plan/Economic Vision 2030/Urban Planning Vision 2030 (all contain tourism
elements), Yas Island Master Plan
Indonesia: Masterplan for National Tourism Development aiming to develop 50
national tourism destinations by 2050, to be carried out in conjunction with the
Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth
Tunisia: Tunisia Tourism Strategy for the Year 2016
Kazakhstan: State Program of Industrial –Innovation Development to 2014 (includes
a tourism section), Tourism Master Plan for South Kazakhstan, Master Plan of the
national tourist cluster on the international highway “West Europe-West China”
Lebanon: Study on the Integrated Tourism Development Plan (prepared in 2003/4),
preparation of Baalbek and north Bekaa region tourism master plan announced March
Asian sub-region
Asian sub-region COMCEC countries outside the leading ten COMCEC tourism destinations that
have current (or recent past) tourism strategic master plans include: Albania (2007-2013),
Brunei Darussalam (5 year implementation plan from 2012), Iran (for Kish Island to 2025),
Maldives (4th Tourism Master Plan, 2013-2017), Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Arab sub-region
Though all COMCEC Arab Group countries have issued strategic guidance for future tourism
development, the incidence of detailed tourism strategic master plans is limited to the
following: Algeria (Framework Plan for the Development of Tourism to 2025), Iraq (10-year
UNESCO Tourism Framework Plan), Jordan (25-year Master Plan), Kuwait (updated five-year
plan to 2017), Oman (proposed 30-year Tourism Master Plan under tender), Palestine
(Bethlehem Tourism Master Plan), and Qatar (Tourism Development Strategy Plan in
Africa sub-region
Similarly, in COMCEC African Group countries though all tourism ministries have established
policies and strategic goals for the future tourism development, there are under half the
member countries with long range planning frameworks, these being: Cameroon (at planning
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
stage), Gabon (as part of a national infrastructure plan), Gambia (Gambia Tourism
Development Plan to 2020), Mozambique (regional plans), Nigeria (Tourism Development
Master Plan 2006-2015), Senegal (new plan currently in preparation), Togo (Master Plan for
Tourism Development to 2018 under preparation), Uganda (currently in preparation).
The existence of plans does not guarantee success development. There are two fundamental
requirements to be met for plans to have a chance of coming to fruition: stakeholder support,
and an implementation plan (incorporating investment goals and procedures). These issues
are discussed in the next two sub-sections.
Full stakeholder consultation and community involvement
Unless the full range of stakeholders in tourism development and operation are in agreement
with tourism development plans, they are unlikely to give their full support. This support can
best be achieved by full and effective consultation with all stakeholders in the preparation of
the plan, with their views and ideas that are valid and add benefit to the plan incorporated
within it.
Government players at central, regional and local level are all significant players in tourism
development. The opinions and needs of private sector investors, developers and operators –
existing and prospective, local and international – are important. It is also of the utmost
importance for planned tourism developments to be acceptable to the communities where it is
planned to take place. This is particularly vital in new destinations where the population has
limited experience or knowledge of tourism, a point that is of relevance to over half COMCEC
Member Countries.
The example of Algeria represents a good model of establishing a integrated approach to
tourism development with wide stakeholder buy in. It has prepared its Framework Plan for the
Development of Tourism to 2025, with all stakeholders (including local communities)
participating at the country’s second National Tourism Conference in March 2013 and the
associated workshops. This resulted in the validation of a vision and the creation of a strategy
for the harmonious and sustainable development of the tourism sector57.
Attracting Investment
Development plans are of limited use in their own right: the key to successful development lies
in their implementation. An action plan outlines the specific tasks to be undertaken according
 Agencies responsible - principal and supporting,
 Phasing – short (one year), medium (years 2 and 3) and long term periods, and
 Associated budgets.
Many of the actions will be dependent on private sector investment. Prospective investors
require the government of a destination to show proactive support for new tourism product
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
development through clear strategic guidelines for the sector, a product portfolio of
opportunities and an investment plan.
A perpetual difficulty for destinations seeking to build up their tourism sectors is attracting
investment. Tourism developments, by virtue of requiring high upfront capital costs with only
a slow build of demand and revenues, typically have poor return on investment in the early
years of operation.58 This reluctance to invest in tourism is exacerbated in countries in the
early stages of tourism development (such as many COMCEC African region members), or
where the overseas investor community is deterred by regional unrest (as in the COMCEC Arab
The difficulty can be tackled in a variety of ways:
 an investment code that provides incentives and other inducements to overcome
prospective investors’ financial or other misgivings;
 assistance through international and bilateral agencies, including collaboration with
investment groups and tourism development agencies from fellow COMCEC Member
Examples of the approaches being adopted by individual COMCEC countries are discussed in
the following two sub-sections.
Investment Code and Incentives
A destination’s ability to attract tourism product investment from foreign or local sources is a
function both of the performance and prospects of the tourism sector and the investment
climate (i.e. organisation, framework, regulations, sources of finance and conditions of
accessing finance, fiscal systems and the existence of special incentives.)
The investment programme identifies the separate needs of the private investment
community, the not-for-profit sector and the public sector. It will draw on best practice and
economic analysis to deliver detailed and costed proposals for the proposed product
developments. The costs and benefits of providing tax and other incentives for tourism
investors are assessed related to the amount of private sector investment likely to be
generated by their availability. This is necessary for each tourism development area related to
the level and mix of investment required.
In most COMCEC Member Countries, there is a government department responsible for, and
which offers a range of incentives for selective forms of investment. In tourism, the most
extensive range of incentives is offered by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority
which offers tax incentives for hotel businesses, tourist projects including indoor and outdoor
theme parks, construction of holiday camps, recreational projects, the construction of 3,000+
capacity convention centres, healthcare travel and the luxury yacht industry. In addition, it
Handbook on Tourism Product Development. UNWTO & ETC. 2011
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
allows double deduction on expenses for overseas promotion, approved trade fairs as well as
tax exemption for tour operators and car rental operators59.
In the developing countries of the COMCEC Arab Group, much investment is funded from
within the country or from fellow Arab countries.
Saudi Arabia is investing over SR7 billion (US $1.9 billion) in 2013 on tourism and heritage
projects in the various regions of the Kingdom, including rehabilitation of tourist and heritage
sites, roads, tourist cities, parks, gardens, museums, and airport expansion. The value of
private sector projects in the form of commercial and recreational complexes, resorts, hotels,
exhibitions, festivals and private museums adds a further SR3.5 billion (US $0.95 billion)60.
Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, plans to invest $42 million in tourism and
hospitality schemes in 201361. Nonetheless, investment incentives for targeted tourism
developments are offered in countries like Lebanon62, and Jordan63.
A mid-scale COMCEC tourism destination in the Africa sub-region, Gambia, also offers a
substantial range of tourism investment incentives covering ecotourism (national heritage and
others), upcountry tourism (motels, tourist camps, sport fishing, river cruising), and 4/5 star
hotels as part of its drive to diversify and increase the quality of its tourism product offering.
Other COMCEC African countries, particularly falling in the least developed country category,
offer investment incentives but without identifying special inducements for tourism and
hospitality investments e.g. Mali 64.
An example of a least developed country in the COMCEC Africa Group with a targeted
investment incentive programme for tourism product development is Mozambique. The
Mozambique Tourism Anchor Investment Program, a joint initiative of the government of
Mozambique and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), aims to capitalize on the
country’s natural beauty to attract private investment and propel economic growth. The
Anchor program identifies, packages and markets investment opportunities in the country’s
tourism industry. It has already identified and secured land titles for four sites and is
marketing its concept for tourist resorts to potential investors. The program is also working to
improve the business environment in Mozambique to make it easier to invest in the tourism
61 - .UgyzOVIqLcp
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Role and involvement of international and bilateral agencies
Financing and technical assistance is obtained from international organisations, both from
within the Islamic community (e.g. Islamic Development Bank), and through international
agencies such as the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, UN Industrial
Development Organization, and the UN World Tourism Organization. Overseas aid
programmes of industrially developed countries of Europe, North America and Asia are also
active in supporting tourism project development, particularly in the least developed countries
of Africa.
Among the international agencies, UNWTO through its technical assistance programmes and
the ST-EP initiative (in 11 African COMCEC Member Countries), UNESCO in respect of cultural
and heritage, UNDP, UNCTAD and UNEP are all active in tourism. At the bilateral level, all
industrialised countries have aid donor programmes with projects in the area of tourism. A
major ST-EP project is assisting in sustainable tourism development in a network of crossborder national parks and protected areas in ten west African countries (with support from
KOICA - Korea); while the Italian Government is working through ST-EP on a multi destination
marketing programme for eight countries in the same region and the Dutch Government (SNv)
is helping Cameroon with the development of a network for promotion and capacity building
for running bird watching tours.66
Common Approaches
The patterns and priorities of tourism product development in the COMCEC countries broadly
mirror those in other countries, the main determining factor being the stage of development of
the economy in general and the tourism sector in particular, and the type of socio-political
system being followed. In other words, countries with well-established tourism sectors seek
diversification and the fuller spread of the benefits of tourism to all sections of their
population, whether they are COMCEC members or not. Similarly, the focus of tourism
development in all least developed countries is on their natural and cultural resources in order
to bring benefits to local communities.
A number of clear trends come through from the analyses of COMCEC country tourism product
development strategies. All COMCEC countries share the requirement for their tourism
product developments to be sustainable (i.e. economically, environmentally and socioculturally).
For the Least Developed Member Countries in the Africa sub-region of COMCEC, and other
member countries in the development phase of tourism receiving up to a level of half a million
tourists a year, a second common element in their tourism product strategies is the growing
UNWTO ST-EP Programme.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
attention to responsible tourism i.e. tourism that “creates better places for people to live in,
and better places to visit”67 (see explanation in sub-section 1.1.). As such responsible tourism
goes beyond sustainable tourism in that the focus is on the local population of the destination,
as stipulated in the Cape Town Declaration.
A third common feature of tourism product development is the increasing number of types
of tourism product development exploiting a wider range of the resources and assets of
destinations to cater for a greater number of market segments and niches. The range of
tourism products being developed around the world is constantly growing in line with the
splintering of market interest in different types of features and activities. In response to the
availability of detailed information in specialist publications and online sources, tourists have
become more fragmented in terms of their interests. This trend provides opportunities for
destinations to create tourism products/experiences about a specific feature or resource of
distinction and distinctiveness.
Product Categories
The review of tourism development strategies and plans of COMCEC Member Countries
indicates that there are ten broad tourism product categories that the 57 COMCEC Member
Countries are variously seeking to encourage and facilitate at present.
These are:
1. Nature/Ecotourism
2. Cultural Heritage
3. Community-based/Rural
4. Sports & Activities
5. Urban/City
6. Business & MICE
7. Medical, Health & Wellness
8. Events & Festivals
9. Cruise & Inland Waterways
10. Beach & Marine
In addition, since products should “match” the tastes and requirements of the market, there
are instances where the products offered to different market segments have to be shaped and
adjusted for the specific needs of these different consumer groups. Separate examination of the
product development approaches adopted in COMCEC countries are indicated, therefore, for:
 Domestic tourists
 International tourists.
Each of the ten product categories and market sources are discussed in the following
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The development of tourism products based on the destination’s natural environment is a
good example of how a tourism product has evolved from being presented as a broad set of
experiences in a destination to offerings that are now increasingly specialised by activity and
interest. There are both “soft” ecotourism experiences (largely passive, sightseeing-based, and
gentle physical activity) and “hard” adventure nature-based pursuits where tourists obtain
their satisfaction from physically demanding pursuits and close encounters with the natural
features in which they are interested.
This trend is increasingly recognised by all destination planners, and is of special relevance to
countries in the developing world whose competitive strength are their natural resources
heritage that permit them to develop products and experiences that cannot be replicated by
more established tourism destinations. This is particularly relevant for the Least Developed
Member countries of COMCEC, as illustrated by the wide diversity of product development
assistance being received through aid programmes e.g. bird watching, local handicrafts,
elephant viewing, village tourism. This form of development has the virtue of using what exists
without huge investment in built or other facilities. Almost all the COMCEC Africa Group of
countries are following this route of tourism product development.
Cultural Heritage
The development of tourism products and experiences related to a destination’s cultural
heritage again has two distinct strands:
 local, community-based, hands-on experiences for tourists watching and experiencing
local crafts, skills, music and dance. This is a prime way of providing the increasingly
demanded direct access to the people of the countries visited and involving relatively
small capital investment, and
 prestigious presentations through cultural centres, museums etc reflecting the rich
traditions of Islamic heritage.
As in the case of ecotourism, cultural tourism products developed in, and by, local communities
are an low capital intensive way of bringing direct benefit to the population. Indeed, the
National Geographic has categorised the tourist market segments interested in both the nature
and culture of the places they visit as geotourists68.
Again, most of the Least Developed countries within COMCEC membership have established
local level cultural activities and performances, demonstrating traditional arts and crafts, and
inviting visitors to participate in life skills such as animal tracking, river rafting, fishing, and
The creation of handicraft centres where tourists can both practice making local crafts and
making souvenir purchases is another way of both transferring knowledge about the
destination’s culture and generating income for the residents of the area.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
At the other end of the scale, for the more financially endowed countries, there is a trend to
develop centres of excellence that demonstrate the rich cultural heritage of Islamic countries
e.g. the Qatar Museum of Islamic Art and the Katara Cultural Center69.
There is an abundance of World Heritage Sites in the COMCEC region i.e. 178 of the total of 891
such sites worldwide. These sites are spread across 46 of the 57 COMCEC states. These
represent major potential for tourism product development both in respect of tourist services
and, via backward linkages, supplies to tourism operators bringing visitors to these sites.
Another important aspect of the culture of a destination that increasing volumes of tourists
enjoy is the foods dishes making up the cuisine of the destination. As well as restaurants
offering the range of local dishes, culinary demonstrations and course are offered in
destinations like Malaysia and Indonesia.
Community-based tourism – tourism that is initiated and controlled by local communities – is
being increasingly adopted as a sustainable and responsible form of tourism product
development. This is seen as an appropriate strategic approach for countries with limited
financial resources to develop high cost infrastructure and limited drawing power to attract
investors for major tourism facilities. The listing of common types of community-based
attraction and activity products fall into four categories70:
1. single activity or objects/daily chores/production/products
2. culture tours/walks/visits/events/classes
3. nature/wildlife/outdoor activities
4. significant sites
Virtually all these community-based tourism products are expressions of a destination
population’s natural and cultural heritage and daily life traditions and skills, so overlap to a
considerable extent with the ecotourism and cultural tourism product developments discussed
The relevance of community-based tourism for COMCEC countries is at both ends of the
development scale. For the least developed countries, community-based tourism represents
the means by which tourists discover and experience new destinations. For destinations with
growing or developed tourism sectors, community-based tourism products constitute a
diversification and refresh the destination’s perception in the marketplace. In order that
communities can play their role in planning community-based tourism effectively,
governments and technical assistance agencies are needed to facilitate and lead capacity
building and community empowerment for successful community-based tourism product
69 and
Proceedings of the 1 Meeting of the COMCEC Tourism Working Group. A New Trend in Sustainable
Tourism Development: Community-Based Tourism in the COMCEC Region. COMCEC Coordination Office.
May 2013.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Best practice examples of tourism product development led by local communities but which
have brought in other stakeholders to provide improved access, technical assistance and
micro finance occur in many parts of the world include: Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism71,
 Buhoma Village Walk, Uganda72,
 Manda Wilderness, Mozambique73
 Benin – case study 4.1.8 (Benin – value chain analysis and backward linkages), and
Eco-Benin, a not-for-profit, community-based organisation developing and supporting
eco-tourism programmes in 12 remote villages of Benin74.
Sports and Activities
The growing realisation of the benefits of physical activity in maintaining good health is
leading to the development of adventure and active recreational tourism products. This trend
is closely allied to the growing interest and demand for nature-based tourism, and is being
exploited by COMCEC Member Countries at all stages of their tourism development. Desert
safaris are increasingly offered in the countries of the Arab sub-group e.g. Algeria, United Arab
Emirates (Dubai). Jungle and inland safaris are offered by African and Asian sub-group
countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Gambia and Brunei Darussalam.
Sports tourism is also being increasingly embraced by COMCEC Member Countries.
Developments take the form of competitions, with countries like Qatar, United Arab Emirates
(Dubai) and Bahrain in the Arab sub-group, hosting rounds on international events in sports as
varied as tennis, golf, Formula 1 motor racing, Moto GP motor cycle racing, bicycle racing, and
UIM Class I powerboat racing. Qatar will host the FIFA soccer World Cup in 2022, for which it
is developing an extensive range of tourism products and services for the crowds that will
attend the championship. It has also developed the Aspire Zone which provides training
facilities used by leading clubs from around the world, as well as operating training courses
(see Case study 4.1.7.)
The COMCEC countries have many of the world’s richest cities in terms of cultural heritage
which act as a magnet for tourists, and by so doing provide extensive entrepreneurial
opportunities for the local population e.g. Istanbul attracts 10 million visitors a year. Recent
developments to extend the attraction of major cities for tourism include the creation of major
shopping malls such as in Dubai and Kuwait, and prestigious cultural heritage features such as
the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar. A particular attraction for tourists from Middle East
and Gulf States and Asian markets is the contrast between traditional souks and modern
shopping malls, with international branded goods.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The economies of COMCEC Member Countries are growing at a faster rate than the global
average and, in consequence, are attracting extensive business traffic. Most cities in the
COMCEC region have developed tailor-made convention and exhibition venues, and have
hotels and resorts that provide their own conference facilities. A key part of their tourism
marketing strategy is devoted to the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) segment,
and as indicated in section 3.2.1, more COMCEC Member Countries have identified MICE
tourism as a major form of tourism to be encouraged through a dedicated marketing agency.
Oman is an example to be targeting the MICE sector strongly. In addition to existing facilities, it
is constructing the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat in two stages: a 22,000
square metre exhibition space by 2015, and a 3,200 seat auditorium in a complex with four
hotels, a shopping mall, 200 serviced apartments, office and exhibition space by 201675.
Medical, Health & Wellness
The development of tourism products geared towards both the treatment of medical
conditions and services designed to help the general feeling of wellbeing is a major trend in
tourism product development in the COMCEC region. Health tourism in Islamic countries has
been the subject of three international conferences, the most recent in Mashhad, Iran, in
December 2012. Many COMCEC countries are actively developing products and services
catering for the different segments of the market. Iran attracts 30,000 medical tourists a year
(both from advanced countries seeking high-level but low-cost treatments, and from less
advanced countries where medical facilities are unsatisfactory76. Moreover, Tunisia has
successfully developed thalassotherapy sea water treatment as a means of product
diversification (case study 4.1.9).
Events & Festivals
The organisation of themed events and festivals are seen as a way of attracting visitors for a
particular interest and, by so doing, sampling the destination and being encouraged to return
for a longer visit. The range of festivals being organised across the COMCEC region is hugely
varied reflecting the unique features and characteristics of the country e.g. the 1 st Malaysia
International Shoe Festival, jointly organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the Malaysian
Footwear Manufacturers’ Association with the aim of promoting shopping, enhancing the show
industry, nurturing young talents and generating new sources of tourism growth. It attracted
50,000 visitors and generated Malaysian ringgit 7.1 million (US $ 2.2 million) in retail sales
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Cruise & Inland Waterways
The 7% a year growth in the ocean cruise market has alerted the authorities of COMCEC
countries with coastal ports to develop port facilities to receive cruise liners.
Turkey has established a “Turkey Cruise Ship Platform” consisting of 13 port cities including
Istanbul, İzmir, Mersin, İskenderun, Trabzon, Çeşme, Çanakkale, Marmaris, and Kuşadasi. It
attracted 2.2 million cruise ship visitors in 2011.
The Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean are important emerging cruise destinations as well as
potential source markets. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain are all actively promoting the
cruise tourism to help boost their tourism industries. In the Red Sea Aqaba plans to develop a
cruise line terminal and in Egypt, Alexandria, Suez and Sharm el Sheik capture traffic travelling
through the canal from the Mediterranean theatre. In the Far East, Port Klang is the cruise port
for Kuala Lumpur, and Malacca, Penang and Langkawi are popular as well as East Malaysia
(Sabah and Sarawak). Indonesia’s cruise ship programme is focussed on Bali and Lombok.
Brunei is also featured on cruise ship itineraries. West African cruises are less well-developed
but offer considerable opportunity.
Dubai’s Cruise Terminal was named the world’s leading cruise port for the seventh year
running at the World Travel Awards 2013, has seen five-fold growth since launching its new
facility in early 2010. Abu Dhabi also launched a 1,300-visitor capacity tented cruise terminal
at Mina Zayed in late 2011, ahead of the construction of a permanent dedicated facility to
accommodate 600,000 passengers by 2030. Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has also prioritised
cruise tourism as a strategic focus. It should be noted however that cruise tourism (like many
aspects of mass tourism) can have significant negative environmental and social aspects which
are often not well understood, and which require careful management, as indicated in the case
study 2.4.3. relating to the Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative.
A prefeasibility study has been conducted by UNWTO to investigate the potential of
establishing a cruise programme on the Caspian featuring ports in Azerbaijan, Iran,
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan which are also among COMCEC members.
Beach & Marine
As noted in section 2.3.1, the widespread beach resort tourism development model of the past
fifty years has led to an increasingly homogenised holiday product, driven by price. The results
of the 2012 global TRAVELSAT Competitive Index Survey based on 30 000+ interviews of
representative international travellers from 50+ source markets (including Turkey, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Egypt Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates among
COMCEC members) indicate that having beautiful beaches and resorts is not enough to
guarantee continued good rates of growth.
Destinations need to focus on quality of services to compete effectively. Global competition
between ‘sea & sun’ destinations is centred on consistency in quality perceived during the
whole stay and the extent to which can generate positive or negative word-of-mouth. The
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
survey illustrates the importance of addressing more intangible criteria such as environment,
feeling of security, and local food as part of successful tourism development. The global survey
shows that the Middle East is rated higher than other destinations for shopping experiences,
but lower than the Caribbean, for example, in terms of perceived ease of communication and
friendliness of locals. North Africa is seen as weaker than the Caribbean on leisure activities,
nightlife and local food78.
Domestic Tourists
Developing products that cater for domestic tourists is regarded as an important means of
improving a country’s tourism balance of accounts, and increasing the population’s awareness
of their own natural and cultural heritage. The prime motivation behind the regional tourism
development plans prepared in the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the various tourism events organised across the country, was
the to encourage and support domestic tourism. The COMCEC region’s established tourism
destinations all have components of their strategy directed towards domestic tourism e.g.
Turkey’s strategy is “to provide an alternative tourism products based on acceptable quality
and affordable prices to various groups in the society”, recognising that different products at
different price levels, are needed to enable all the population to engage in domestic tourism
(Tourism Strategy of Turkey – 2023).
For COMCEC’s least developed countries, developing tourist products for the domestic markets
represents the means to kick start the development of tourism product provision. It can serve
to create recreational and leisure pursuits for the local population, provide economic
opportunities for local communities, and contribute to the general raising of awareness of
tourism among the population.
International Tourists
The economic slowdown in the traditionally strong tourist generating markets of Europe and
North America has obliged destinations to focus on other source markets with more rapidly
growing economies e.g. the so-called BRIC countries (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China). They
have achieved considerable success in this strategy, as evidenced by Russia becoming Turkey’s
second largest market after Germany accounting for 3.5 million arrivals in 2011; and China
becoming the Maldives’ principal source, increasing its share of total arrivals from 2% to 21%
between 2001 and 2011.
Within the international market, destinations identify a large number of segments or niches
defined according to shared interests. A clear opportunity exists for COMCEC member
countries to target visitors from other COMCEC countries. The shared religious belief and
socio-cultural practices leads to opportunities for the development of tourism products
designed to cater for tourists from COMCEC countries. The Sharia-compliant hotel concept
through its unique value proposition has become attractive in many COMCEC countries,
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
including Turkey (Alanya) and Maldives, where a sharia-compliant resort is under
The increasing availability of Sharia-compliant funds and the rise in intra-regional travel have
been identified as the major drivers behind the success of this concept. The concept is not new,
as most hotels in Saudi Arabia have long been Sharia-compliant. Malaysia grades Shariacompliant properties and markets them to visitors from other COMCEC member countries and
domestic Malays. Some hotel brands originally described as Sharia-compliant upon their
launch have altered their claims and now consider themselves to be purely alcohol-free or ‘dry’
hotels. There is growing demand for both concepts.
In considering the approaches they should pursue over the next decade to marketing their
destinations, all countries face the need to adapt to changing patterns of market demand. As
noted in section 2.3.2, the trend in 21st century tourism marketing is increasingly becoming
more sophisticated as products are designed targeted at increasingly narrowly defined market
segments and niches. That is not to argue that mass tourism products will decline, only that the
growth in demand for these from traditional source markets will be less than for the more
focussed tourism products and services.
To develop more effective and targeted e-marketing, destinations and tourism companies are
increasingly seeking customized and relevant information by gathering large amounts of data
from multiple sources. Consumer technology is changing traveller behaviour and expectations.
Tourist organizations and companies try to keep up with the latest advancements focusing on
cost optimization and performance enhancement while they also need to increase their focus
on how technology can better meet their travellers’ needs.
The high cost of destination marketing campaigns is obliging National Tourism Organizations
(NTOs) to be more selective in the geographic markets and segments within those markets
that they direct marketing activities towards. While those COMCEC countries with large
tourism sectors continue to undertake marketing, promotion and public relations in all major
markets, shifting the balance of investment towards the most immediately productive sources
such as China, the smaller tourism country members of COMCEC target a limited range of
generating markets. The current areas of focus of destination marketing by the three COMCEC
country regional groups are as follows:
 African COMCEC Group – Europe and Africa only for the least developed nations,
 Arab COMCEC Group – well-established tourism destinations like the United Arab
Emirates and Egypt target all major source markets; while other countries, though
active in Europe, focus on Middle East/Gulf States, India and Australasian markets,
 Asian COMCEC Group – again, the well-developed tourism destinations have a broad
geographic range of target markets: intra-regional Asian markets are of particular
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
importance at present; while COMCEC Asian countries have increased marketing
activities targeted at the Middle East/Gulf States.
The focus of tourism marketing is moving from relying on general advertising and other
‘above the line’ campaigns (see sub-section, such as the famous Malaysia Truly Asia TV
campaigns, towards boosting this with ‘below the line’ activity, such as public relations (PR)
and social media campaigns. In 2011, for example, Tourism Malaysia spent over US$ 500,000
on Facebook campaigns79.
Turkey is an example of a country with a broadly-based marketing and promotional mix. In
2013, its global tourism marketing budget is reported to be US$ 128 million. Turkey has 40
promotion offices across the world. Above-the-line marketing activity includes TV
commercials, advertisements on billboards and Internet banners. Below-the-line activities
include hosting over 200 foreign opinion makers, primarily journalists, to experience the
country’s tourism products and services. Working in partnership with the travel trade, Turkey
is promoted in 153 different fairs in 61 countries. E-marketing and a well-designed website
have been developed. Turkey increased its total number of tourists from 13.2 million in 2002
to 31.8 million in 2012, a total increase of 141%. The country recorded a 10.9% rise in arrivals
in the first half of 2013 80.
To develop more effective and targeted e-marketing, destinations and tourism companies are
increasingly seeking customized and relevant information by gathering large amounts of data
from multiple sources. Consumer technology is changing traveller behaviour and expectations.
Tourist organizations and companies try to keep up with the latest advancements focusing on
cost optimization and performance enhancement while they also need to increase their focus
on how technology can better meet their travellers’ needs. Consumers are increasingly seeking
instant, personalized and bookable services. This is all evidenced in the rapid growth of social
marketing as one of most important elements of national tourism campaigns. It is however
expensive to do effectively, and not all COMCEC countries have social marketing as part of their
promotional mix. Some have yet to develop dedicated tourism marketing websites.
Three examples of the effective use of e-marketing from the COMCEC region are Indonesia,
Jordan and Sierra Leone.
Indonesia is amongst those increasingly investing in social marketing, promoting its tourism
industry through digital channels, especially through a dedicated website and social media
platforms. Besides information on tourism sites, videos, and events, Indonesia also has
specialized microsites for 19 different regions in the world’s most populous Islamic country.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Each local government offers their own attractions which makes it easier for travellers to dig
up relevant travel information with ease.
Jordan also invests heavily in social media campaigns, in keeping with its strategy to promote
the Hashemite Kingdom as a special interest, boutique destination. The Jordan Tourism Board
engages specialist digital marketing companies to design campaigns and maintain consumer
databases. In December 2011, the Jordan Tourism Board ran an innovative marketing
collaboration with travel bloggers (i.e. people who maintain a personal diary of their travel
experiences online). The concept, using, involved the tourism board
and eight travel bloggers who visited Jordan, leveraging the bloggers’ published Jordan content
and their social networks. The bloggers showcased Jordan as a featured destination on their
blogs for a month. The campaign also included a social media event spanning two days during
which the bloggers created a media marketing blitz using their social media channels (Twitter,
Facebook, and Google+, with Twitter being the primary platform) to promote Jordan using the
hashtag #GoJordan.
The campaign drove traffic to the Visit Jordan website and to the participating blogs, as well as
to the newly-launched Postcards from Jordan microsite81 featuring posts from travel bloggers.
The Jordan Tourist Board’s website attributed its top travel listings 2012 on Virtuoso & Condé
Nast to its 2011 blogger & social media campaigns, together with an increased number of
followers on its Facebook and Twitter pages. Several hundred people participated by tweeting
about their experiences in Jordan, often including links to articles and photos. As a result, the
general public learned about Jordan’s diverse attractions and many expressed an interest to
visit Jordan in 2012, while others reminisced about their holiday in Jordan. Many local
Jordanians joined by sharing travel tips.
In Sierra Leone innovative social marketing is undertaken by Tribewanted, a sustainable
tourism and social enterprise which began in Fiji in 2006. In 2010, Tribewanted began
operating its second project at John Obey beach, Sierra Leone. Tribewanted describes its
mission as 'to build sustainable communities in amazing places that benefit locals and visiting
members; inspiring positive change within and far beyond the village’. Both projects have
received extensive media coverage, including a five-part BBC documentary called Paradise or
Bust and a book by founder Ben Keene. Tribewanted’s business model involves building up a
social network of supporters who share an ecological vision and are willing to participate in
creating the future locally-owned resort. Management of the Fijian project was handed to the
local community in October 201182.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The world faces a continued period of steady, rather than rapid, growth in international
tourism, with traditional markets in the west expanding more slowly than the Asian and other
markets like the Middle East. At the same time tourism destination competition is ever
increasing. Countries are having to adjust to these changes and intensifying rivalry. They are
seeking to do this through diversification of their tourism product and experiences; and by
increasingly targeting these tourism products at selected market segments and niches. Highly
targeted marketing communications are employed with increasing use of electronic
The overall challenges faced by the countries in the COMCEC region, as summarised in the
COMCEC Tourism Outlook 2013 report, are significant and determine the individual countries’
ability to grow their tourism sectors. These include:
 Technical know-how and weak promotional activity
 Insufficient tourism-related infrastructures
 Insufficient tourism investments
 Lack of consistent tourism strategies and plans
 Lack of tourism diversification
 Lack of tourism safety
It is a simple fact that COMCEC countries compete in a global marketplace in which the weaker
destinations fare less well than the better organised and resourced destinations in respect of
resource availability in the three areas of:
1. Technical – full access to the latest electronic technology that drives the tourism
distribution system,
2. Human - knowledge of tourism markets and the distribution system,
3. Financial – for the funding of infrastructure required for tourism, as well as tourism
facilities, attractions and activities.
These shortcomings impair the ability of the less economically-advanced COMCEC Member
Countries to have strong tourism institutions, fully-researched strategies, comprehensive and
integrated development plans. The absence of extensive investment programmes (including
appropriate support mechanisms) and highly effective, targeted marketing also impact on
destinations realising their full potential.
A number of COMCEC Member Countries can, and do, compete successfully in this
environment; many others have to be more considered and selective in their tourism
development ambitions, while putting in place programmes to increase their technical, human
and financial resources, both through cooperation with those fellow Islamic states that have
well-established tourism sectors, and outside assistance agencies.
The question of the perception of lack of personal safety that prevails among large sections of
industrialised country populations is one that can only be effectively addressed through a
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
sustained period of stability and peace in the COMCEC Member Countries. Evidence indicates
that within a short period, civil and other turmoil in countries that have a history of being
tourism destinations, can be overcome and tourist activity return to normal. This happened in
Egypt following the Luxor killings of 1997; and is beginning to occur in Tunisia following the
disruption during its political changes in 2011.
Several of the specific issues that serve to constrain tourism product development and
destination marketing in COMCEC countries arise from the overall obstacles, while others are
directly related to the tourism markets and distribution systems. These are discussed under
the following sub-headings: government support, border formalities, human resources,
transport access and infrastructure, market control, local society awareness, land, finance,
economic leakage, and image and perception.
Government Support
Given the high sensitivity of demand to economic and other conditions, tourism still suffers in
many parts of the world as having the image among public administrations of being a less
reliable source of economic development than agriculture or industry. Consequently, it tends
to be given a relatively low priority in terms of support and planning. Tourism administrations
in such countries consider that they are hampered in terms of their ability to facilitate the
development of tourism product and services required by the market and, thus, compete
effectively in the international marketplace. The questionnaire responses to the COMCEC study
survey show that this difficulty is felt in the least developed countries in the Africa sub-region
in particular. Lack of government support for the development of new tourism products is a
serious obstacle in many COMCEC countries.
Border Formalities
There remain many instances in COMCEC countries, including in respect of travel between
COMCEC countries, where immigration controls impose a lengthy and complicated set of
procedures. A key requirement in the realisation of a policy to increase any form of trade is the
facilitation of the movement of goods between nations. For tourist movements to be
encouraged to their full potential border formalities need to be simplified to the maximum
extent consistent with national security. COMCEC’s stated strategy of ‘enhancing mobility’
directly addresses this issue.
Human Resources
The establishment of a cadre of tourism professionals, fully versed in the tourism distribution
system, and the development of tourism markets and competing destinations is a prerequisite
for any destination intending to realise its full potential in the tourism marketplace. In the
well-established tourism destinations in COMCEC, this excellence exists; but in the majority of
COMCEC Member Countries, especially the least developed nations, there are serious
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
shortcomings in this respect, leading to a dependence on international technical assistance
which may not always be fully sympathetic to the socio-cultural needs of the destination. This
is an area that can be addressed through schemes designed to transfer technical skills between
COMCEC Member Countries i.e. from the leading COMCEC tourism countries to the others.
Transport Access and Infrastructure
The ability of prospective tourists to travel to, and around, a country is a critically important
element in destination choice decision-making. For a destination to be competitive it needs
adequate transport infrastructure and air/road/rail/sea services (as appropriate). Again, the
least developed country members of COMCEC suffer from weaknesses in infrastructure that
serve to hamper both the existing operation of their nascent tourism sectors and their abilities
to develop new tourism products around the country and to widen the spread of benefits over
its population.
Market Control
The tourism distribution system is characterised by being predominantly under the heavy
influence of organisations outside the destination. Foreign airlines and tour operators exercise
a great degree of control over tourist flows. While this has lessened over the past decade with
the ready availability of information and direct booking facilities on the internet with all forms
of tourist product in destinations, it still remains a significant factor in destinations’ marketing
strategies. It can create a situation where demands are placed on the destination tourism
marketing entity to undertake particular promotional or other activities in the market of the
airline or tour operator that may not always be the best use of limited marketing budgets. This
remains a challenge for destinations, and heightens the need for a high level of knowledge and
insight among the personnel of tourism administrations in order that the correct marketing
investment decisions are made.
Local Society Awareness
The frequently wide disparity between the living standards and socio-cultural norms of the
host population and foreign tourists gives rise to apprehension and, in some instances,
reluctance about welcoming tourism development, and engaging with foreigners. This is
especially marked in those countries without a long tradition of tourism, and concerns can be
increased as a consequence of the different religious belief systems and practices of the Islamic
populations of COMCEC countries and foreign visitors. Lack of awareness/understanding of
tourism in their societies is the second most common cited challenge in the NTO survey
conducted for this study.
Obtaining access to land under acceptable terms and conditions is a constraint to new tourist
product development frequently cited by prospective investors. This observation, common
across many African countries, is characterised, with regard to regulations, customary land
practices, and by conflicts in land appropriation procedures. Systems and procedures for the
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
acquisition of land, and leasing arrangements, are aspects to be given greater attention in
investment codes, in order to provide greater clarity.
The single most commonly cited barrier to increased tourism product development (and
marketing activities) is shortage of finance: from government for infrastructure and
marketing; and from the tourism private sector for new tourism products. Even a highly
successful COMCEC tourism destination like Turkey, with a specific incentive scheme in place,
finds it difficult to attract investment for fully researched and well-planned tourism
development opportunities away from the coastal areas. Tourism product development and
marketing strategies can at best only be partly effective if they are not underpinned by
identified channels of funding and investment.
Economic Leakage
In many developing countries and in practically all least developed countries, a high
percentage of the foreign exchange income generated from international tourists is lost to the
country through imported items. This leakage can range from imports of goods and services to
meet the requirements and expectations of tourists to the necessity to employ foreign
personnel (like chefs, managers) to the repatriation of benefits of foreign tourism companies.
Image and Perception
The legacy of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, the 9/11 and subsequent attacks against western
targets, the western military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing instability
in a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa, is a heightened concern about personal
safety when visiting countries in these two COMCEC sub-regions. While these perceptions are
not valid, they determine destination choice and so have to be addressed through public
relations activities to build up trust in the marketplace. One way in which this can be achieved
is through positive feedback from a sponsored visit by a personage respected in the market
(e.g. a politician, arts or sports personality).
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The COMCEC Member Countries face significant challenges but also have outstanding
prospects for developing their tourism sectors, an observation that applies equally to those
countries with already well-established tourism sectors and those at the early stage of
development. Recommendations on the ways in which COMCEC and its member countries can
tackle the difficulties and more fully exploit the potential of tourism development are given in
section 5.
Destinations in other regions will not wait for the COMCEC countries to develop their
institutions, develop well-researched strategies, establish and support tourism product
development and investment plans, and execute powerful tourism marketing messages. The
onus is on the countries themselves and through cooperation with each other, facilitated to the
maximum extent possible through COMCEC. In addition, full use can be made of the available
international assistance to create the situation where tourism can prosper benefiting the
economy and local populations, while providing rewarding experiences for tourists.
Increasing government recognition of the importance of tourism as a valuable contributor to
the economy, increasing and upgrading infrastructure, developing a cadre of tourism
excellence in government tourism agencies, building awareness and understanding among
local populations about the benefits of tourism, and creating conditions conducive for
investment in the sector are all challenges that can be addressed through increased
collaboration and cooperation between COMCEC Member Countries with those with strong
tourism sectors building capacity and transferring skills to other COMCEC countries,
particularly to the least developed countries.
Two major trends in tourism market demand and the ways in which the tourism distribution
system responds to these changes augur well for COMCEC Member Countries.
First, the trends and changing tastes in tourist market demand for direct access to the natural
features and cultural heritage of the countries they visit represent strong opportunities for
COMCEC countries which have a wealth of such resources. The development of tourism
products related to the nature and culture of the least developed COMCEC countries in
particular provides the potential for local communities to become involved, or increase their
participation, in the tourism economy.
Second, the increased sophistication of market research techniques makes it easier to separate
out prospective tourists’ interests into products and services tailored to the requirements of
increased numbers of market segments and niches related to the identified interests. For
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
COMCEC countries with established tourism sectors, this enables them to diversify the range of
tourism products offered, thereby increasing their appeal to, and ability to attract, a wider
cross-section of the tourist market.
For least developed COMCEC countries, this fragmentation of demand enables them to develop
tourism products and services for targeted segments and niches interested in visiting
relatively undeveloped tourism destinations.
For the well-established tourism destinations within COMCEC, competing in the global
marketplace, their approach to tourism product development and marketing strategy is
determined by the need to match or exceed the offering and marketing communication reach
of their competitors. They have the advantages that there are 1.6 billion fellow Islamic citizens
in the world, who share many cultural norms and sensitivities, and the outstanding Islamic
cultural heritage. Destinations can draw on other COMCEC countries in shaping tourism
products related to these strengths, an attribute that can become a unique selling proposition,
but which has to be treated with the utmost respect and care.
The need to reduce economic leakage can be addressed through matching the tourism sector’s
needs with local provision. For countries where the economy is capable of producing many of
the inputs required by the hotel industry, such as agricultural produce, textiles and furnitures,
the need is to synchronise production with demand from the tourism sector so that imports
can be substituted by local manufacture.
The less diversified the economic structure of a country, the higher the level of imports and of
leakages. In such cases, tourism development based around the goods and services that can be
supplied locally (typically nature and community-based) can result in lower leakage – albeit
lower gross earnings.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
There are significant successes in tourism product development throughout the members of
the COMCEC, from the countries with large and flourishing tourism sectors to those in the
embryonic phase of developing tourism as a tool for economic advancement.
There are 12 examples from different COMCEC countries presented in this section of the
report. They are:
1. Turkey – case studies related to the planning of large scale development (Belek),
2. Malaysia – case study on rural community-based tourism development (homestay)
3. Maldives – case study on regional development, and increased community
involvement in tourism (Gan-Addu Atoll)
4. Gambia – case study on small scale entrepreneurial support (ASSET)
5. Jordan – case study on ecotourism development, pro-poor support and private sector
participation (Feynan Eco-lodge)
6. Lebanon – case study on product development to benefit local population and assist
in environmental protection involving the coordination of multiple players (Shouf
Biosphere Reserve)
7. Qatar – case study on product and market segment development (Aspire Zone)
8. Benin –case study on value chain analysis and backward linkages
9. Tunisia – case study on market; product diversification based on innovation
10. Egypt – case study on coordinated and environmentally sensitive planning of large
scale tourism development (El Gouna)
11. Silk Road – collaboration and coordination between 17 COMCEC member countries
and 14 non-COMCEC countries
12. United Arab Emirates, Ras Al-Khaimah/Real Madrid – collaboration between major
international sports brand and COMCEC member on ‘sportainment’ (the merging of
sport and entertainment) development
These case studies show that those COMCEC Member Countries with the most developed
tourism sectors have engaged in comprehensive and structured tourism development
strategies. They have clear destination marketing strategies and programmes of marketing and
promotional activities to raise and maintain awareness and to build a positive image in the
global marketplace. Those COMCEC countries in the development and early phases of the
tourism area life cycle are using international assistance and the examples of other countries
within the COMCEC group to plan for sustainable tourism that achieves maximum benefit for
the country’s economy and the population.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
One of the most successful COMCEC countries in tourism is Turkey. The extensive
development on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in the Antalya-Belek region was created
from scratch from the early 1980s. In the near 30 years since the first developments, the area
now attracts 14 million tourists a year. The Turkish authorities apply a system of detailed
planning for their developments: initially the overall regional master plan, followed by
physical plans, and then implementation and land allocation plans. The Law for the
Encouragement of tourism establishes priority zones for tourism development. There are 168
declared designated tourism zones.
Turkey has published a long term strategy in place covering the next decade (Tourism Strategy
for Turkey (TST2023)).83 The approach is “to develop tourism on a regional basis within a
guiding rather than imperative and dynamic rather than static framework”. The TST2023
recognises the need to avoid some of the difficulties associated with large scale developments
that have arisen in the past (e.g. mass concentration at the Mediterranean and Aegean coastal
areas, distorted urban development/house building in back-shore and adjacent areas,
infrastructural shortcomings, environmental problems, water shortages), and plans to avoid
their recurrence through the TST2023’s extensive and integrated approach to future tourism
In recognition of the extensive range of resources and assets within the country suitable for
tourism development, and the need to enable the full cross-section of the Turkish population
to benefit from tourism, the TST2023 identifies health and thermal tourism, winter sports,
mountain climbing, adventure trips, ecotourism, the MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences,
exhibitions – sector, cruise ship and yacht tourism, golf and other sports tourism as product
development diversifications away from the established coastal and urban tourism.
The two priority tourism product development types on which Turkey is focussed are: thermal
spa developments, and winter sports. The country has 1,300 geothermal resources, the plan
being to link thermal resort development (i.e. comprising a hotel and cure center and park for
relaxation, recreation and entertainment) with other tourist activities like golf, winter sports
and water activities. Prospective winter sports areas are in parts of Turkey that have been
little developed for tourism to date. The focus on these two areas is intended to diversify the
country’s tourism activities and market segments, to spread the socio-economic benefits of
tourism around the country, and to even out the seasonal flow of tourists to the country.
Turkey has also recently developed facilities to receive cruise ships.
TST 2023 details separate strategies and objectives over the period to 2023 for:
 Planning
 Investment
 Organization
 Domestic travel
Tourism Strategy of Turkey 2023.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Research and development
Transportation and infrastructure
Marketing and promotion
Service quality
City branding
Tourism diversification
Regions to host rehabilitation efforts for tourism areas
Tourism development zones
Tourism development corridors
Tourism cities
Ecotourism zones
A detailed implementation plan covering corporate structuring and governance, action
planning and monitoring and evaluation is incorporated within the TST2023. The TST2023
represents a model for any destination to study and follow with appropriate adjustment for its
own circumstances.
Of particular relevance are the strategies in respect of organization, research and
development, and marketing and promotion i.e.
TST 2023 Organization strategy:
To achieve institutionalization through councils to be established at national, regional,
provincial and local levels within the context of ‘good governance’, to ensure full and
active participation of tourism sector as well as all related public and private entities and
NGOs in relevant decision-making processes.
TST 2023 Research and Development strategy:
To achieve top prioritisation of R & D efforts in tourism industry among public and
private sector and tourism organisations NB the TST2023 states that “in tourism the
term research is perceived within the context of competition, cooperation and search
for new products”.
TST2023 Marketing and Promotion strategy:
To commence with marketing and promotion activities at each destination, in addition to
the national marketing and promotion campaigns with the ultimate objective of
branding on a national, regional and local scale.
The intention is to develop individual sub-brands based on the feature of the different regions
of Turkey that are original, authentic and different, along the lines of the house of brands
concept of organisations like Ford with individual car models designed and targeted at specific
consumer segments. Turkey has 40 overseas tourism promotional offices. Of course, the
marketing and promotional budget for a major destination like Turkey are very significant and
out of reach of the smaller destinations within the COMCEC membership, but much of the
approach adopted to its marketing efforts and the coordination with private sector interest has
relevance to all destinations. The head of the Information and Promotion department of the
Ministry of Tourism and Culture is also the Chairman of the multi-party Tourism Working
Group, an important way of ensuring full consultation, collaboration and coordination.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
It is significant to point out that TST2023 has a section dedicated to domestic tourism, the
strategy being to provide a range of tourism products of “acceptable quality and affordable
prices” for the various sections that make up Turkish society. This focus on domestic tourism is
important for all COMCEC Member Countries, particularly those whose access and appeal to
international markets is limited. Through the creation of appropriate products and
experiences – often of a small scale and involving backward linkages to agriculture and other
suppliers – the genesis and early development of tourism can be based on catering for
residents from other parts of the country. The basis for tourism can be established in this way.
This can serve to attract those visitors from outside seeking direct access to authentic local
culture and nature – the explorers, adventurers, or, using the terminology of Plog, the
allocentric visitors84.
Title & URL
Belek, Antalya
Type of good
Large scale development
The Ministry for Culture and Tourism (MoCT) The Tourism Master Plan for 2023
prioritises broadening the industry, by focusing on areas such as health, cultural,
winter, golf, conference and fair tourism. This strategy aims to see the economic
benefits of tourism more geographically dispersed and less seasonal, eliminate interregional differences in development levels and increase competitiveness.
‘Belek Tourism Centre’, 30km from Antalya is a large scale high-end tourism resort on
the Mediterranean coast which is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s top golf
destinations. The resort comprises 14 golf courses (including the National Golf Club),
over 30 four and five star hotels (with a capacity of about 45,000 beds) and many
other accommodation, services and entertainment facilities. 300 days of sunshine per
year means that Turkey’s premier golfing destination is appropriate all year round
and even in winter, there is an average of more than 6 hours sunshine per day. In
Why Destination Areas Rise and Fall in Popularity. Plog, s. 1974 (in Cornell Hotel and Restaurant
Administration Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 4., Updated 2001, Vol. 42, No.3)
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
2012, Belek hosted the international Turkish Airlines World Golf Final. The range of 9,
18 and 27 hole golf courses are designed by internationally acclaimed course
Besides golf, Belek is also an important centre for football related tourism. The resort
has 44 football pitches, provides camping possibilities to hundreds of professional and
amateur football teams every year. Belek also offers cultural attractions. The history
of the town dates back to the 4th Century BC and the sculptural and architectural
elements of the area illustrate the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Seljuk influences.
The popular heritage sites of Perge, an old town which was built in 1500 and one of
the best preserved ancient theaters, Aspendos, which has a capacity of 15,000 people
and theatre is the best preserved and is used today are also located nearby. There are
also 29 Spa facilities located in Belek, offering top quality treatments. The local
population varies between 750 and 10,000 in low and high season, respectively.
Rationale and
justification for
Belek was chosen as the destination for the resort thanks to its suitable climatic
conditions, topographical characteristics, good infrastructure and location nearby to
Antalya, a city with many tourism facilities and an international airport. Beginning in
1984, the initiative was a coordinated effort between The MoCT and the Belek
Tourism Investors Association (BETUYAB), a management association founded in
1988. Every company investing in the Belek Tourism Centre is obligated to become a
member of BETUYAB.
Details of
and operation
15 years ago, Belek was just a reedy and marshy area, today it is the key model of the
Turkish tourism industry’s public – private partnerships. Most of the infrastructural
investments of Belek Tourism Center have been facilitated through the involvement of
the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, (drinking water, sewage systems, wastewater
treatment plants, electricity and telecommunication). Under the orientation of The
Ministry of Culture and Tourism, “Belek Tourism Investors Association Inc.Co.”
(BETUYAB) acts on behalf of all members in terms of remedy of various problems,
ensuring joint actions at the contacts with related institutions and establishments,
national and international promotion of the region. The membership is compulsory by
means of payment of the contribution shares and membership fees.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Large scale
Resort – based( golf&spa)
Long term strategy
Emphasis on high standards of quality
Public-private partnership,antalyabelek-ingpdf.pdf?0
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Like Turkey, Malaysia is a destination with a wide spread of tourism destinations and
products, ranging from coastal and highlands resorts, nature and cultural tourism involving
rural communities, and MICE and other forms of city tourism in Kuala Lumpur.
In its country paper at the 2013 UNWTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development85
Malaysia outlined its aspiration of becoming a high income country by 2020 through its
Economic Transformation Programme. Tourism is one of the national key economic areas by
which the country aims to achieve this economic transformation. In this regard, the Malaysia
Tourism Transformation Programme (MTTP) was formulated to achieve the targets of
attracting 36 million international tourists and generating Malaysian ringgit 168 billion (US $
50 billion) in terms of tourist receipts i.e. a threefold expansion of foreign exchange earnings,
thus contributing Malaysian ringgit 3 billion (US $ 1 billion) revenue per week in 2020. This
strategic ambition will be achieved through, inter alia, the 12 Entry Point Projects proposed
under the Tourism National Key Economic Area based on the themes of:
 affordable luxury,
 family fun,
 nature adventure,
 business tourism, and
 international events, spa and sports.
As part of the country’s efforts to promote a dynamic and vibrant tourism industry, creative
tourism products are being developed, including:
 shopping,
 homestay,
 parks and gardens,
 contemporary art tourism, and
 shoe festival.
Like Turkey, Malaysia places high emphasis on domestic tourism, this segment accounting for
131 million visits in 2011.
Malaysia provides a good example of collaboration between COMCEC Member Countries
through a joint promotional programme with Indonesia. It sees joint promotion as a costeffective way to market multi-destination tourism packages, acknowledging that tourists do
not wish to be constrained in their choices by administrative boundaries. A “multi country –
multi destination” joint promotion was carried out through the UNESCO 1-2-3 Package
initiative. This package provides an experience of visiting three heritage sites located in two
countries, namely Malaysia and Indonesia. With the price of one package, a tourist gets to
experience different cultural-mixes from three UNESCO World Heritage sites, namely
Borobudur in Indonesia, and Malacca and Penang in Malaysia. It also can help to upgrade the
livelihood of the local economies through sustainable tourism for both nations.
UNWTO 25th CAP-CSA and UNWTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, April 2013
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Malaysian presentation outlined the growing efforts to enhance joint promotions. The
ASEAN Product Development Working Group (PDWG), has identified 130 tourism products to
be promoted in the areas of nature-based tourism, cultural and heritage tourism, communitybased tourism, and cruise and river-based tourism. The collaboration must involve at least two
(2) ASEAN Member States (AMS) with at least one (1) ASEAN tourism product. The packages
developed are jointly marketed under the ASEAN brand – South East Asia: Feel the Warmth.
Title & URL
Malaysia Homestay Programme
Type of good
Rural community-based tourism development
The Malaysia Homestay Programme is a rural development initiative designed to
allow tourists to stay in a traditional Malaysian private home with a host family while
interacting and experiencing the traditional way of life. Homestay locations have been
established in rural villages throughout the country, each offering a taste of the
unique local culture and the traditional ‘Kampung’ way of life. In each of the villages, a
cluster of Homestay accommodation is available to visitors. The wider rural
community also benefit from the Homestay programme, through activities such as
trek guides, production and selling of local craft and art as souvenirs.
The concept of the Homestay is focussed on immersing the visitor in the local lifestyle
and culture and the programme has experienced increasing popularity. In the region
of Sabah, one of Malaysia’s top 3 most popular Homestay destinations, there are 16
Homestay locations with over 200 participants. In 2011, Sabah Homestays received
13,000 foreign and 7,000 domestic visitors, exceeding the targeted RM2.7million
revenue by RM1.2million (, 2012)
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Rationale and
justification for
The Homestay Programme ensures the benefits of tourism can be experienced in local
rural communities. It appeals to the tourist because it enables the visitor to have a
meaningful cultural experience and to taste the traditional way of life. Because the
programme relies on the authenticity of culture and tradition, it is a means of
ensuring and incentivising the conservation and maintenance of the traditional
society and way of life.
Details of
and operation
The Homestay initiative was established in 1995 by the Malaysian Ministry of Art
Culture and Tourism. In 1997, there were about 286 houses officially participating in
the Homestay programme, by 2004 there were 948 (Hamzah, 2006). Initially
Launched in the region of Pahang, it has expanded into various other states
throughout the country. In 2001, the Rural Tourism Master Plan for Malaysia
(Tourism Development International, 2001) cited a need for investment, improved
facilities and a higher standard in rural accommodation.
In recent years, the Homestay Programme has undergone major improvements and
much organisation has been undertaken, particularly in licensing and training. The
Ministry of Culture, Arts & Tourism certifies participating Homestays, often assisted
by local non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Each district has a coordinator who
works with the authorities and the hosts. The programme has experienced a 77%
increase in visitor arrivals in 2009 to 161,561 tourists (of which 31,523 are foreign
visitors). In 2010, 3,283 Homestay operators in 141 villages had been trained and
licensed and the programme won the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO) Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance in 2012
(Tourism Malaysia).
In 2010, the MoT launched all-inclusive packages for tourists, in which the visitor can
travel around Malaysia by rail, staying in different Homestays throughout the country.
The programme has also undertaken a new e-marketing promotional effort
(; marketing is undertaken through social
networking websites such as Twitter, Youtube and Facebook and an app for smart
phones has been developed.
Key success
features and
Promotion of sustainable tourism in rural communities
 Reduction in rural-urban migration
 Promotes intra-cultural interaction
 Fosters gender equality
 Presents an authentic socio-cultural experience to the visitor
 Extensive infrastructural investment unnecessary
 Uses activities already available in the communities
 Focussed on specific market segments (e.g. Student groups)
 Linked to private sector tour operators
 Empowers the poor to share the benefits of tourism activities (as Homestays
require relatively investment)
Sources of
< <>
&id=98&Itemid=113> (2012) Homestay Operators Offer Lifetime Experience to Guests.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Available online: <>
< Release - UNWTO
2012 ULYSSES AWARDS (Final).pdf>
Tourism Planning & Development (2013): Homestays as an Alternative Tourism
Product for Sustainable Community Development: A Case Study of Women-Managed
Tourism Product in Rural Nepal, Tourism Planning & Development.
Maldives has recently researched and prepared the drafts for its 4th Tourism Master Plan.
Historically, it has pursued a development policy of resort development on islands without
local populations on a “one island, one resort” basis. Tourism growth has been sustained since
first opening up for tourism in the early 1970s with an arrivals figure of just under 1 million
achieved in 2012 when the volume of resorts and hotels reached 124 offering a total bed
capacity of 24,432. In addition, just less than 2,000 beds are available in guesthouses and
liveaboard vessels, in the broad proportions of 1:3. A further 71 properties with a planned
capacity of 10,432 beds are in the pipeline.
Europeans have been the principal source of tourists for Maldives for the purposes of
relaxation or honeymoon in high end facilities in a tropical island setting, and the scuba diving
segment. The upgrading of resorts to the top end has coincided with the economic downturn in
western markets, leading to a fall in occupancy levels of five percentage points between 2007
and 2011, and a switch of attention to the Chinese market which now accounts for over 20% of
arrivals (i.e. 199,000 in 2011 as against just 2,000 a decade earlier – almost all on honeymoon).
The requirements of the Chinese tourist for an extensive range of activities – quite different
from the European visitor’s desire for relaxation – has posed problems for those resorts on
islands distant from either the capital, Male, or other resorts. The mixture of high and low
activity guests on a small island can also cause difficulties.
The change of presidency in 2008, a more open tourism development policy was introduced
enabling local communities to apply for guest house development. The resort operators’
response to this development, coinciding as it did at a time when their occupancies were under
stress, campaigned against it. In early 2012, the president stepped down in response to
popular unrest and new elections are set for September 2013.
The Strategic Action Plan for Tourism in the draft of the 4th Tourism Master Plan has six main
1. Maintaining Maldives position in world markets
2. Managing environment and conservation issues
3. Engaging more Maldivians in tourism careers
4. Promoting sensible ways for communities to participate in tourism
5. Promoting investment towards sustainable growth and high product quality
6. Efficiency in marketing and destination management
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The increasing volume of visitation to highly environmentally sensitive, low lying islands
creates its own problems. The strategy to manage environment and conservation issues has
seven strands:
1. improve waste management practices of local communities,
2. develop and enforce management plans for sensitive environments,
3. establish marine managed areas in resort house reefs,
4. implement a “responsible visitor” programme,
5. implement a climate change adaptation programme for the tourism industry,
6. implement a low carbon programme for the tourism industry, and
7. strengthen environmental management for evidence-based decision making.
The impact of tourism development on the environment has been heavily debated but there is
a lack of data to determine for sure the extent of this impact. At present, since 1993, there are
requirements as part of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for detailed analysis of
environmental conditions before constructing a tourist facility. There are also requirements
for environmental monitoring for a specified period of time following construction, but the
draft of the 4th Tourism Master Plan notes that this is rarely followed up. Apart from the
regulatory requirements, there is also a need to continuously gather data on critical
environmental aspects such as coral reef health and coastal erosion. Regular environmental
monitoring data are required to make evidence-based planning decisions on proper
environmental management and conservation measures.
In order to spread the benefits of tourism more widely across the Maldivian population, the
draft of the 4th Tourism Master Plan outlines the need for:
 education programmes to engage more Maldivians in tourism careers – the 2006
census recorded that only 15% of employed men and 4% of employed women worked
in tourism,
 the promotion of entrepreneurship,
 a programme to determine the wider island roles in tourism that complement, rather
than attempt to present an alternative to, the mainstream industry, and
 mobilising support, with international assistance, for community level tourism.
These proposals recognise that there is a strong appetite for wider participation in tourism
from many sections of society, but that such aspirations need to be channelled into ways that
are commercially viable and that will complement mainstream tourism. The present emphasis
on the accommodation sector – in particular for guest houses - ignores the fact that there is no
pattern of foreign FIT (free independent traveller) visitation to Maldives, apart from around
the tourism transport hubs. The draft 4th Tourism Master Plan points out that there is,
therefore, no clear market demand for large numbers of guesthouses on inhabited islands
away from the hubs, and that it may be better to focus support for community participation in
tourism towards the activities and attractions sector for which there is a known interest from
existing, mainstream markets. Effective guidance for the development of the guest house
sector needs full and accurate data consolidation of information on aspects such as the status
of new lease agreements and occupancy rates. The aim must be to develop regulations and
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
standards so that guest house developments meet market needs and can contribute to a
thriving sector that integrates local entrepreneurs.
A major recommendation of the draft 4th Tourism Master Plan is the creation of a second
international air access hub at the former British Royal Air Force airport at Gan in Addu Atoll.
This is a component of the Plan’s strategy of promoting investment towards sustainable
growth and high product quality. Creating a new transport hub at Gan will assist existing
resorts and make undeveloped islands more viable for resort development, as well as reducing
the pressure on Male airport. The proximity of many resorts to the relatively large local
population base of Addu Atoll – 30,000 – represents the potential for greater interaction
between tourists and local people, providing business opportunities for Maldivian
entrepreneurs and communities.
Title & URL
Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives
Type of good
Regional development
In recent decades, the Maldivian economy has become increasingly dependent on the
tourism industry, with the sector accounting for nearly 34% of direct Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) in 2011 (almost 75% when counting both direct and indirect).
However, tourism development in Maldives has been mainly private sector-driven
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
and previous tourism master plans have not always had a major influence on the
directions of growth. Recently, government strategies have been aimed toward
making regulatory framework more efficient and effective and cultivating sustainable
investment in the sector through supporting infrastructure and increasing training
and employment opportunities for locals while maintaining environmental
Tourism activity and past resort development was concentrated in the central region
of the country around the Malé International Airport. At present, the main tourism
hubs are located on island resorts which are not indigenously inhabited. A major issue
highlighted in the Fourth Tourism Master Plan (4TMP) was the deliberate separation
of resorts from society in previous tourism policies with many technical jobs in
resorts were being carried out by expatriates.
More recently, in order to bring direct benefits to island communities, development
has been aimed towards other regions, especially the development in islands
inhabited by locals. However, the central government has the challenge of limiting
inappropriate, non-viable and ill-advised developments, while at the same time
attempting to encourage local council engagement in tourism planning. Often, the
inexperienced and under-resourced island councils have a limited view of tourism
industry, with focus mainly directed towards resorts, city hotels and guesthouses.
The Addu Atoll differs from the usual tourist experience of the Maldives as the area is
inhabited by locals. It has a population of 25,000 and tourists are allowed to move
freely among the islands to experience the local culture and the way of life of
Maldivian people. Approximately an hour’s flight from Malé International Airport to
Gan, this area has not yet been developed to the extent of the primary tourism resorts.
Gan was an RAF base until March 1976.
Rationale and
justification for
The Maldivian tourism industry is mainly centered around Malé International Airport,
while resorts in more regional areas do not experience the same level of tourist
volumes. By creating a new tourism hub in Gan, an existing former British Royal Air
Force airport, there could be more interaction with the nearby island communities.
The 4TMP suggests the development of a second international airport hub at Gan in
Addu to serve the existing and planned new resorts in the southern atolls. One of the
main benefits of the project would be the distribution of tourism from the central area
towards more regional areas which have not been as affected by the successful
tourism industry, opening up its economic benefits to a broader segment of society.
Details of
and operation
Creating opportunities for local communities to engage in tourism has been an aim in
all previous master plans which is widely meet with enthusiasm and motivation
amongst political leaders. However, accommodation is usually the first proposal.
While accommodation is important, until now there has been little attention to the
activities and attractions sector for generating opportunities for community
participation in tourism.
According to 4TMP, community participation in tourism has the most potential when
providing opportunities for existing tourist markets to engage with Maldivian
communities. This can be achieved by learn about Maldivian lifestyles, fish on
Maldivian fishing boats, buy Maldivian handicrafts, eat Maldivian food, learn
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
something of Maldivian history and culture, etc.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Regional development
Community integration
Using pre-existing infrastructure
Investment in infrastructure
Increasing private sector confidence
Community-based tourism as a development tool linked to other agendas, e.g.
environment; gender; conservation; cultural preservation; social harmony.
Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture (2012) Fourth Tourism Master Plan 2013-2017
Vol 2: Background and Analysis DRAFT 1. Ministry of Republic of Maldives. Available:
The 2006 Gambia Tourism Master Plan identified a series of product development and
marketing strategies by which the country could move from being a largely European winter
period, relatively low price, sun and sea destination to one that offered a wider range of
attractions capable of attracting a greater number of market segments, especially more
upmarket, higher spending tourists.
The objective of The Gambia’s Vision 2020 for the tourism sector is defined as
"to make The Gambia a tourist paradise and a major tourist destination through product
innovation, quality improvement, improvement of investment returns and diversification
of The Gambia's tourism product".
The Plan stated that achieving the Vision will depend on:
 continuous government support towards tourism,
 political stability,
 competitive product range,
 growing market demand,
 provision of relevant physical and social infrastructure,
 sound environment, and
 efficient institutional arrangements.
 streamlining the development process, by building capacity at national and local levels
and by promoting a strong public/private sector partnership.
Significant progress has been made in recent years and travel and tourism is now the second
largest contributor to the country’s socio-economic development after agriculture, accounting
for close to 15% of GDP in 2011. Apart from the foreign exchange earnings it generates,
tourism is proving to be a significant factor in infrastructure development and inward
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
investment. The country’s resource strengths for tourism are its coastline but also the river
network and historic sites which represent the potential for the further development of
ecotourism and cultural tourism.
Gambia’s tourism has been negatively affected in the past by social problems. A major initiative
to combat these social problems and provide a clear pathway for Gambians to participate in
the tourism sector and develop a strong sense of pride in their achievements is the ASSET
(Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism) programme.
Title & URL
ASSET, The Gambia
Type of good
Pro - poor initiative
Informal sector - tourism linkage
In 2000, 69% of the population of The Gambia lived under the poverty line. This was
mainly accounted for by low crop yields (due to soil infertility) in rural areas, where
70% of households were lower than the poverty level and unemployment in urban
areas (46% lower than the poverty level) (Bah, 2006;2). The Gambia’s primary
activity was agriculture, and with secondary and tertiary activities still
The Gambia’s past tourism development had a positive impact with regards to the
building of infrastructure, institutional development, the establishment of a security
apparatus and promotional activities. However, little was done with respect to
developing strategies to link tourism consumption with local products and services.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) aims to encourage
responsible tourism through the creation of linkages between tourism and the
agricultural, informal and cultural/handicraft production sectors. ASSET aims to:
 Contribute to improving the tourism product in The Gambia and help to bring
development for the country
 Provide assistance to members with product development, marketing, training,
quality control and access to finance
 Work collaboratively, promote networking and joint activities amongst
 Develop partnerships with government, other institutions and external
organisations where appropriate
 Contribute to sustainable development within the Gambian Tourism Industry
using principles and practice of Fair Trade in Tourism
 Identify appropriate quality standards for members
 The furtherance of good relations between ASSET and similar organisations in
other countries
 The protection of small-scale business interests in the mass market tourist
industry (
ASSET has undertaken many initiatives to link the benefits of tourism to the
community in order to alleviate poverty, for example, the ‘Destination Cluster’
initiative to encourage capacity building and cooperation and the Gambia is Good
(GiG) project linking horticultural producers to the tourism industry.
The initiative has been widely successful, with an increase of 132% mean daily
turnover for juice pressers, increased trips and income per week for licensed guide,
and increased earnings at craft markets, for example the market at Kotu Beach had
average sales of 96.5 in 2001, which increased to 335.3 the following year (Bah, 2006;
Rationale and
justification for
In strengthening the tourism sector and its affiliated industries, the benefits of
tourism can be spread to broader segments of society.
Details of
and operation
ASSET was established in April 2000 in order to bring together, advocate for, and
promote a large number of small enterprises that were active in the tourism industry
in The Gambia. It has a membership of 80 small and medium enterprises including
craft market vendors, tourist taxi drivers, official tourist guides, juice pressers, fruit
sellers, and small hotel, guesthouses and ground tour operators who work together to
help each other with marketing, product development and training.
Key success
features and
Promotion of responsible fair trade practise
Poverty alleviation
Tourism and agriculture linkages
Creating consumer awareness
Capacity building
Consultation between stakeholders
Private sector involvement
More meaningful connections/experiences between tourist & host country
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Sources of
Stimulates entrepreneurship
Increases community pride
Triple bottom line: environmentally sound, socially just and economically
Bah, A. (2006) Challenges of Tourism for Local Communities The Gambian Experience
Gambia Tourism Concern, The Gambia.
The Royal Society for Conservation of Nature in Jordan is one of the pioneers in the field and
with initial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) it
has developed a model of excellence that protects the natural resources of the area on one
hand while assisting income-generating activities on the other which in turn assist with its
conservations work.
Without a focal development – the lodge – and a clear emphasis on protecting the
environmental features in the area, the tourism products and experiences developed in the
area risked being piecemeal, uncoordinated and potentially damaging to the very resources on
which they were based. The Dana Reserve has 800 plant species, 449 different animals
(including threatened species such as the sand cat and Syrian wolf) and represents the
resource for a wide range of hikes and other tourist activities.
The development of the Eco-Lodge provided a base for these various activities and assisted the
local community to develop a series of visitor experiences and products such as:
 Daily excursions in private or open group hikes with local Bedouin guides, or hiking
trails that are recommended for individuals without guides,
 Nature hikes include wildlife and bird watching & identifying the indigenous plant
 Geological hikes examining the features of the Dead Sea Rift such as igneous
exposures, mountains and canyons,
 Historical hikes including archaeological sites from the Stone and Bronze ages, the
copper mines, Roman and Byzantine settlements and early Christian monasteries,
 Cultural Bedouin hikes in which the traditional way of life is explained. Highlights
include meeting local shepherds and women walking to aquifers and having tea in a
traditional Bedouin family’s tent.
 Sunset and sunrise hikes
 Mountain biking
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
Feynan Eco-lodge, Jordan
Type of good
Eco-tourism development, pro-poor development, private sector participation
In 2003 Jordan’s Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) embarked on
the construction of a purpose-built eco-lodge at the western gateway to the Dana
Reserve which it manages. This gateway is Wadi Feynan, on the site of an old copper
mining research base, and built with funds provided by USAID. Distant from roads and
power supplies, the Lodge represented a brave attempt to create a unique tourism
experience in Jordan and bring enhanced economic benefits to the Wadi Feynan
Bedouins, who are among the most underprivileged tribal groups in Jordan and whose
reliance on intensive goat grazing in the nature reserve is a cause of many ecological
problems. Its location was also part of a strategic conservation initiative to use
tourism to offset the threat of open-cast copper mining in the Feynan area. The
development of tourism provides an alternative and more environmentally
sustainable livelihood option.
Feynan Ecolodge is located on Dana Biosphere Reserve, the largest reserve in Jordan.
It covers 300km of land and attracts over 30,000 visitors per year and has won four
international awards for sustainable development ( There is a wide variety
of wildlife, geology and landscape thanks to its uniqueness as the only reserve in
Jordan in which four bio-geographical zones are included: Mediterranean, IranoTuranian, Saharo – Arabian and Sudanian.
The Feynan Ecolodge is an exceptional, beautiful building which has won a number of
architectural awards. It has been listed as one of the top fifty ecolodges in the world
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Taking influences from ancient
caravanserai and Yemeni architecture, it provides 26 rooms, all organically shaped
and different in layout. It incorporates environment-friendly features, including solar
power, high insulation, and passive ventilation systems, fires are lit using a renewable
bi-product from the olive harvest, food excess and waste is composted to use as
fertilizer. Waste is kept at a minimum through the use of recyclable material, e.g. Clay
jars instead of plastic water bottles in guests’ bedrooms. In the absence of mains
electricity, it is lit at night by candle light which gives a very special atmosphere to the
building and creates an unusual attraction for tourists. It was opened in September
2005. By the end of 2006, it had already attracted sufficient visitors to cover its
operational costs and made a small profit. In 2010, the initiative was successfully
handed over to the private sector for operation as a viable ecotourism business.
Rationale and
justification for
This project represents a good example of eco-friendly, pro-poor tourism and
successful private sector participation.
Details of
and operation
RSCN has been one of the pioneers of nature conservation in the Arab region. It was
founded in 1966 when a main concern was the drastic fall in numbers of animal
species due to illegal hunting and general disregard for the natural world. The
organization, a Jordanian NGO, instigated efforts to replenish the numbers of
endangered species, many of which had reached the edge of extinction. Since that
time, RSCN has seen the establishment of seven protected areas scattered throughout
Jordan, covering over 1200 square kilometres in some of the finest natural landscapes
in the country, offering protection to wildlife and ecosystems.
Wild Jordan is the business division of RSCN aimed at socio-economic development
and ecotourism activities. It manages income-generating programmes for local
communities in and around RSCN’s protected areas. These businesses aim to bring
tangible economic and social benefits to local communities and raise awareness and
support for nature conservation nationally.
The Feynan Ecolodge project was developed with support from USAID.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Environmentally friendly
Linked to nature conservation
Public-private partnership
ESCWA (2011) Environmental goods and services in the ESCWA region:
Opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. New York.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Shouf Biosphere Reserve project is another example of using tourism as a tool for the
protection of the natural environment of the area, while creating economic opportunities for
local communities. It ensures that tourists are properly informed by trained guides and blends
experiences related to the natural features of the area with cultural components, bringing
benefit to the local communities.
The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Programmes, of which the area is a part, has three
main functions: conservation (protection of cultural diversity & biodiversity), development
(environmentally & socially sustainable development which is culturally appropriate) &
logistic support (capacity-building and knowledge-generating through education, project
demonstration, research and monitoring).
Since 2010, the strategy for the development of the Al-Shouf Cedar Society rural development
programme in the area has included:
 Expanding to new outlets
 Creating a more focused product range based on best sellers
 Focusing on quality improvement
 Modifying prices to ‘premium prices’ (high end)
 Developing sales during off-peak season, through targeted outlets such as stalls at
festivals, guesthouses, exclusive outlets & existing networks
Products developed and activities available include:
 Hiking in the Reserve with local guide (more than 230km of trails)
 Traditional meals
 Village cultural tour with local guide
 Accommodation at local Guesthouse
 Biking tour in the surrounding villages (20 bikes available to rent)
 Donkey riding (4 donkeys available)
 Snowshoeing (19 snowshoes available)
Planned future activities to develop include:
 Meditation
 Cross-country skiing
 Nature watching
 Educational activities
 Adventure activities (rope sports, mountain biking in a closed park)
 Events & Festivals
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Lebanon
Type of good
Tourism product development to benefit local people and the environment through
the successful coordination of multiple players.
The Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR) covers about 5 percent of the overall area of
Lebanon and extends along the ridge of the western chain of Mount Lebanon. 70,000
people are living around the biosphere reserve, whose territory is shared by 24
different municipalities belonging to 3 different districts. The region includes some of
the last native stands of Cedrus libani, the famous Cedars of Lebanon and has become
a much visited part of the country due its natural beauty. It attracts domestic, regional
and international tourists.
The SBR encourages the use of tourism as a tool for conservation. Tourism
management has focused on interpretation and guiding, visitor safety, eco-tourism
activities, local guesthouse development, visitor information and marketing, small
scale visitor attractions, and the restoration of traditional buildings and footpaths and
hiking trails. It also places strong emphasis on environmental education.
A key tool used by the Reserve, is the development of ecotourism packages. These
packages are usually composed of 1 day hiking in the reserve, 1 overnight in the
guesthouse & 1 cultural tour at the villages, with varied options available. They are
designed to give the visitor an introduction to the unique attraction while benefitting
local communities directly. Packages encourage an authentic experience of ‘slow
In 2005, the area became part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere
Programmes (WNBR). Launched in 1976, the WNBR is part of the Man and Biosphere
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Programme which aims to enable the protection of nature without entirely restricting
it from the human population. Following UNESCO designation, the reserves are now
governed at a national level, while still coordinating at regional and international
scales through the network.
The Al-Shouf Cedar Society (ACS) has been running a rural development project since
1999. About 82 different traditional products are made by members of the local
community (mainly women) using traditional methods. Products include marmalade,
herbs, jams, beverage, distilled waters and craftworks. These are sold under the Shouf
Biosphere Nature Reserve label. In 2008, revenue of ca. $28,000 was made
( Strategy Final.pdf). 50% of the revenue
is spent on the cost of production, (locals are reimbursed for their raw material and
paid for their labour). Products are sold at the park entrances, where reserve guides
are responsible for sales and promotion (receiving 15% of revenue), 25% goes to an
agent who has the role of organisation of production.
Rationale and
justification for
Lebanon is a country where natural beauty (and tourism potential) is challenged by
changing agricultural practices, rural unemployment, poor planning control and the
extensive development of second homes. The SBR project is successfully addressing
nature conservation and landscape preservation through eco-tourism, to the benefit
of local people. It is a good example of responsible tourism.
Details of
and operation
In 1996 the area was officially declared a nature reserve under Lebanese law. It is
under the authority of the Ministry of Environment (MoE). The area is managed by the
Appointed Protected Area Committee (APAC). APAC’s committee members include
ACS, mayors of the larger villages and independent environmental experts. The daily
management and planning of the park is the responsibility of the Management Team,
who, along with local guides comprise of about 25-30 individuals.
The Management team also liaise with various local, national and international
stakeholders through a series of workshops. Such stakeholders play an important role
in the development and planning of the SBR as supporters, partners, contractors,
beneficiaries, and providers of technical and financial assistance.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Rural tourism development
Local engagement and employment
Coordination of multiple players
Building on traditional skills
Strong environmental focus
Strong educational focus
Regional networking and information-sharing Strategy Final.pdf
Site visit, July 2012
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The award by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) of the 2022 World
Football Cup competition to Qatar has provoked the Qatari authorities into planning the
development of a wide range of attractions and activities catering for the large influx of visitors
anticipated for the event. Past tourism to Qatar has been in the form of business and high end
demand focussed on the luxury hotels in Doha. In recent years, however, the State of Qatar has
established outstanding education and sports facilities that have attracted both students and
sports participants.
Qatar was largely closed to tourism until 1995. The 2004 Tourism Master Plan led to $15
billion being earmarked to develop the tourism value chain by building and attracting top
hotels; creating flagship museums and other attractions; and vastly expanding the national
airline. Its goal (now exceeded) was to triple annual tourist arrivals to 1.4 million.
Qatar has developed five significant tourist attractions funded through the public purse:
1. The internationally acclaimed Museum of Islamic Art,
2. The 2005 redevelopment of Souq Waqif,
3. The Katara Cultural Centre,
4. Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and
5. The Corniche Bay.
These represent the cornerstone of the image presented of the country to the outside world,
along with the modern urbanscape of skyscrapers of original and striking design in Doha, the
dunes, oryx, falcons and camels. There is very little that is accessible outside Doha. There are,
however, many archaeological sites spread throughout the country, scenically stunning dunes,
an inland sea, and other natural features such as Bin Ghannem Island.
Recognising the challenge facing the State in preparing for the World Cup, Qatar has embarked
on constructing a major rail system linking the various stadia, and has developed a new
tourism strategy, as well as identified a series of tourist attractions and activities to be fasttracked into development with government support. The Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar
Museum Authority are working closely together to develop cultural and natural heritage
attractions outside Doha. The recent signing of an accord with the UNWTO will bring
assistance to Qatar in the development and management of its tourism sector.
Aspire Zone, Qatar
Title & URL
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Type of good
Sports tourism
Qatar has positioned itself as a top class destination for sports tourism and has
attracted much business and international exposure from international sports
federations, national sports associations and global sports events thanks to its worldclass athletic facilities. It has been successful in establishing itself as a prime location
for major sports competitions, pre-competition camps, conferences, sports research,
injury diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
As one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel industry, sports tourism plays a
major role in the global tourism industry. Sports tourism is generally comprised of
two components – active sports tourism and passive sports tourism i.e. visitors who
travel to participate in sports activities and those who travel to watch sports
activities. Qatar’s positioning as a major sports destination has focussed on both of
these aspects through the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the management
planning organisation ‘Aspire Zone Foundation’ (AZF). The AZF has developed world
class facilities and services for those participating in the many sports Qatar has to
Marketing Qatar as a brand has a key role in establishing international dominance in
sports tourism. The AZF and QTA have put much effort into building brand awareness
as a world class sporting destination and service provider and into attracting clients
and partners. Key international events have helped to concrete Qatar as a top sports
destination. The development of their media platform is particularly prominent,
putting efforts towards engaging a consistent local and international presence.
Throughout the year, major international events showcase Qatar and help raise
awareness, including the Asian Football Cup in 2011, the IAAF World Indoor
Championships in 2010, the 2004 World Sports Conference and the annual FIM Moto
Racing World Championships.
Following the success of the 2006 Asian games, Qatar has received continued
international recognition and the Aspire Zone was voted the World’s Leading Sports
Tourism Development project at the World Travel Awards and its successful bid to
host the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar confirmed its global position as a Sports
Rationale and
justification for
Part of Qatar's national strategy of major investment in tourism infrastructure, to
broaden its economic base beyond petro-chemicals.
Details of
and operation
The 240 hectare development ‘Aspire Zone’ was designed for the 2006 Asian games. It
is located 8km from Doha’s Central Business District. Sports stadiums, medical
facilities, educational services, a sports academy, mosque, sports clubs, retail areas
and parklands - all of professional standard - are located within it.
In terms of active sports tourism, participators are attracted by the high quality and
large range of facilities available at Aspire, such as the world’s largest indoor sports
venue, 13 independent playing fields, the Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Women’s
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Sports Hall, etc. Through these elite facilities, Aspire is becoming an important brand
in professional sports training, with many international sports stars associated with
sport in Qatar. The Aspire Sports Academy was established in 2004 as a leading sports
training academy, particularly focused on Football, Athletics, Squash and Table
Tennis. Some of the programmes run by Aspire Academy are international sports
scholarships, such as the ‘Aspire Football Dreams’ – a programme which is aimed
towards seeking future talent in world football. Over two million young footballers
have been tested since the programme began in 2007 in 15 developing countries
throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa.
For passive sports tourism, there is a yearlong calendar of major sports events which
attracts international supporters; for example, Qatar is one of the first hosts of the
season of the Association of Tennis Professional’s (ATP’s) World Tour, which attracts
major tennis personalities bringing much international publicity.
As well as the AZF’s strategic planning role, the QTA is a key player in the
development of Qatar as an elite sports destination. The need for collaboration and
planning at a national level is essential to Qatar’s success as a tourism destination. The
QTA has a vital role in these processes. Last year, the QTA held one of the largest
conferences on Sports in the Middle East. The Qatar Sports Forum gave stakeholders
in the tourism industry the opportunity to discuss the planning and development of
Qatar as a leading sports destination.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Collaboration with private sector stakeholders
Facilities of the highest quality
International media & televised events improve host nation image & brand
Major multimedia exposure through international sporting events &
professional sports personalities
Collaboration with national airline
Economic successes – increased investment, job creation, foreign exchange,
increased local sales, etc
Improved community pride
Increased local sports participation
Sport as a motivator of regional cooperation
Standevan and De Knop, Sport Tourism. T. Hinch and J. Higham, ‘Sport Tourism: A
Framework for Research’, International Journal of Tourism Research, 3, 1 (2001), 45–
58. sthash.1MbwdIKt.dpuf
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Benin is a country that is seeking to utilise its natural resources for the development of
tourism for the benefit of local communities. It has a current training programme through the
German Government overseas aid programme for small game hunters, tourist guides, trackers,
accommodation keepers and carrier owners. Through value chain analysis (see discussion in
sub-section 1.2.) it has identified backward linkages whereby local people can supply goods to
operators and directly to tourists themselves (e.g. through the transformation of water
hyacinths into saleable products).
Tourism provides a wide range of economic opportunities, especially for developing and least
developed countries, but often without inclusion of poor segments of the population e.g.
handicrafts sold to tourists are often imported due to limited local capacity and quality, and
many hotels and restaurants import supplies of fish, vegetables and fruit because of the
reliability of supply and quality compared with locally-sourced products.
The rationale for identifying and developing business linkages for poverty reduction is as a
response both to:
 increased interest from hotel chains, restaurants and tour operators to invest more in
local sourcing and provide their clients with an “authentic” experience, and
 the limited capacities and skills of entrepreneurs to meet the quality requirements of
the tourism industry.
The term “inclusive tourism”, not to be confused with the similar term used in the tourism
marketplace to denote several elements in a holiday trip combined, is defined as tourism that
seeks to include all indirect suppliers to the direct tourism operators. As such, it is seen by the
ITC-UNCTAD as a scaling up from community-based tourism, extending the reach of tourism
in, and benefits to, local society86.
The process starts with an in-depth feasibility assessment identifying products and services
currently sourced from abroad that could be obtained locally in the destination. Training and
advice are given to local groups on the capacity, consistency and quality requirements of the
tourism operators. Assistance is given in business negotiation and contracting.
A three phase programme of analysis and assessment can be followed: diagnosis of the present
situation and context, prioritization of project opportunities (through a value chain analysis
exercise), leading to a work plan. Linking agriculture to tourism markets is an example. The
goal is to provide capacity building and facilitate partnerships between agro producers and
tourism operators, by providing farmers and fishermen with the tools they need to assess the
tourism market, and the buyers with the skills to develop sustainable partnerships with local
producers. Similar programmes can be developed for the providers of local artistic and
cultural services, and for handicrafts makers.
Inclusive Tourism: Promoting Backward Linkages. UNCTAD-ITC. Marie-Claude Frauenrath. Expert
Meeting on Tourism’s Contribution to Sustainable Development. March 2013
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
Type of good
Inclusive tourism: Promoting backward linkages
Tourists are increasingly searching for the ‘authentic’ experience and growing
concerns about the sustainability of the travel industry, therefore hotel chains
restaurants and tour operators are investing more in local sourcing. However, often
stakeholders in the private sector do not have the capabilities to meet the quality
expectations of international tourists.
Inclusive tourism is an integrated approach to developing sustainable and inclusive
business linkages within the tourism industry. While community-based tourism aims
to bring the benefits of tourism into local communities, inclusive tourism attempts to
view the entire tourism product, aiming for more dispersal of the benefits,
geographically and socially. By creating a backwards link along the supply chain of the
tourism product, capacity building programmes can reach the poorest sectors of
society. Main characteristics of the inclusive tourism are:
Feasibility assessments: to identify products and services currently sourced
from abroad by the tourism industry which could be sourced locally
Stakeholder meetings: to identify business opportunities and to highlight how
a demand-driven approach can link them with local producers
Enhancing supply capacity: illustrating the necessity of consistency and quality
standards to meet the demand requirements of the tourist industry
Providing market expertise & formal market linkages: assist in business
negotiation and contracting
Developing institutional capacities: strengthening support services for the
industry and affected communities
Provide policy advocacy: aim to influence public policy in relation to resource
allocations, planning, development, laws, etc.
Facilitate partnerships with private actors: to stimulate local economy
Gender equality: promote the involvement and integration of women and youth
Emphasise the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and
Working with existing tourism destinations and existing supply sectors.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
In Benin, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and United Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) undertook an initiative to promote sustainable and inclusive
tourism. The project’s main initiatives were: helping to process and sell 100% organic
soaps for the local tourism market, Abomey; building the techniques of local craft
makers to transform water hyacinths into sellable products in Ganvié; and upgrading
the services in the Tourism Office, Oidah, with new promotional materials and tools.
Capacity building is the main aim of inclusive tourism, providing links between
producers and tourism markets, e.g. local artistic and cultural services, environmental
management, handicrafts and agrifood. This is achieved through targeting specific
audiences such as public sector offices, private sector association, micro, small and
medium size enterprises, NGOs supporting the sector, producers associations, the
private sector and individual producers by building awareness, providing information
training and efficient guides.
Rationale and
justification for
Tourism provides a wide range of economic activities, especially for developing and
least developed countries. However, often the poorer segments of society are
marginalized from these opportunities.
Details of
and operation
The UNCTAD promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries
into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative
knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates
and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic
policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about
sustainable development. Its main activities include consensus building, research and
technical assistance.
The ITC is a subsidiary organization of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and
the UNCTAD whose mission is to foster sustainable economic development and
contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing
countries and countries with economies in transition through trade and international
business development.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Sources of
Poverty reduction and social inclusion
Capacity building
Gender equality
Institutional support
Tunisia’s tourism development was narrowly focussed on beach resorts. Only in the past few
years has the need been recognised to develop a wider product range to appeal to more
markets and segments within those markets. Seeking to diversify its tourism product offering
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
away from mass, beach tourism, Tunisia has pursued a policy of innovation through
developments in the areas of desert experiences, MICE and golf.
Tunisia’s Tourism Strategy to 2016 stresses the importance of tourism product innovation and
diversification. It identifies four key strands to this approach:
1. The development of a quality charter for all tourism professionals
2. The encouragement of innovation by supporting and rebuilding the tourist areas
3. Diversifying the types of tourist accommodation, by encouraging new forms
4. Strengthening the supply chains of diversification i.e. business tourism, cultural
tourism, ecotourism, golf tourism87
Many developments are still at the planning stage, particularly ecotourism, facing delays in
policy development, funding, and approvals, such delays being the price to be paid for ensuring
that projects are sustainable.
There has been focus in Tunisia on the sustainable development of tourism and ecotourism in
two different areas: the Sahara Desert and the north coast islands. Coastal resorts have long
been the face of Tunisia’s tourism industry, but recently the shift has been towards visions of
developing tourism opportunities in the Sahara, as well as developing ecotourism resorts on
the coast.
Sea water and seaweed-based treatments developed through French Government assistance
have enabled the country to successfully exploit a completely new product: market area
related to the coastal areas.
Title & URL
Thalassotherapy, Tunisia
Type of good
Product diversification
Tunisia’s approach to tourism has been a classic illustration of mass tourism focused
around package vacations organised by Europeans tour operators. Until the Arab
Spring of 2011, up to 80% of Tunisia’s international arrivals came in air inclusive
Tunisia’s Tourism Strategy for the Year 2016.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
tours (including transport and transfers) seeking sun, sand and sea. In 2010 Tunisia
attracted 6.9 million visitors.
Tunisia has been positioned as an inexpensive beach destination and the 1970s and
1980s has witnessed a hotel construction boom stimulated by tax breaks for
investors: High borrowings combined with low profitability subsequently causing
problems for industry quality. With just over 34,000 bed capacity in 1970, the
industry had grown to a capacity of more than 230,000 by 2008. Significant problems
relating to high volume and low prices were evident as room supply exceeded
demand and re-investment in ageing hotel stock was needed. As in Egypt in recent
years, tourism development in Tunisia has taken place mainly in coastal tourist zones,
which are usually physically separated from native residential and commercial areas.
Product diversification and specialisation (e.g. desert experiences, meetings,
incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) and golf) as well reinvestment in hotel
stock became priorities.
Thalassotherapy is seen as an important means of
lengthening the season as it is not weather-dependent. Thalassotherapy comes from
the Greek language thalassa or sea. Tunisia has become the world’s number two
thalassotherapy destination (after France) and aspires to be the world’s number one.
Modern thalassotherapy involves therapeutic treatments, in a comfortable, luxurious
setting, which evokes the ambiance of a vacation rather than that of a medical clinic.
Rationale and
justification for
Illustrates the development of a quality-orientated product to diversify Tunisia’s
tourism offer with a specific target market in mind.
Details of
and operation
Tunisia is concentrating on wellness tourism in its marketing approach. The Office
National du Tourisme Tunisie (ONTT) has established a new products department
with responsibility primarily for product development, but also with the specialist
product knowledge to be able to assist at specialist exhibitions such as Thermo in
Paris. A product marketing brochure is produced in cooperation with the industry
featuring thallaso product and thallaso is specifically highlighted at relevant trade
shows. ONTT concentrates much of its marketing effort on attracting journalists to
Tunisia to write about the product. In the case of wellness and thalassotherapy,
specialist journalists are sought.
The Ministry of Health regulates thalasso centres. In 2006, a new Decree was issued,
cancelling the previous regulations of 1992 governing standards in thalassotherapy
centres in Tunisia. Thalasso Centres are operated by private sector hotel groups.
Key success
features and
Sources of
New product development
Training, quality and standards
Special interest marketing
Site visit 2008.,en/ et bien %C3%AAtre-598.htm
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
El Gouna’s grassroots environmental organization, Green Gouna, was founded in 2002 by a
group of concerned residents. The goals of Green Gouna are to help develop the resort as an
ecotourism destination. Green Gouna pursues this goal by involving the entire community in
protection and preservation through education, recycling, clean-up campaigns, festivals and
the establishment and the enforcement of environmental standards and guidelines. El Gouna’s
Eco-Festivals have helped promote the Green Gouna campaign and enlisted the participation of
local businesses, hotels, and residents. Past festivals have included educational seminars and
activities on conservation as a means for participants to learn how to value and protect their
environment and living space.
 Earth Day is celebrated bi-annually to increase public awareness of and support for
important conservation issues.
 There is an ongoing push in El Gouna to eradicate the use of plastic bags, replacing
them with recyclable paper bags or other re-usable materials.
 Installation of recycling bins for glass, paper, plastic and cans in El Gouna.
 Conservation awareness campaigns directed to staff, residents and visitors.
 Establishment of an educational photo gallery on El Gouna wildlife.
 Installation and maintenance of mooring systems for diving boats in cooperation with
the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association.
The El Gouna resort development area is an example of the way in which a major project can
still maintain strong environmental standards and demonstrate a high level of corporate social
responsibility, with lessons of relevance to similar large scale developments in other countries.
Title & URL
El Gouna, Egypt
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Type of good
Large scale tourism development
El Gouna, Egypt is a resort of 17 hotels built along 10 kilometres of beachfront on the
Red Sea. It spreads across islands interlinked by lagoons and is the culmination of a 20
year vision of Samih Sawiris, chairman of Egypt’s Orascom Hotels & Development to
create an ecologically friendly resort city. Several hotels, the marina town, golf club
and villas were designed by award winning Egyptian and international architects and
its quality infrastructure and excellent services as well as natural beaches and yearround sunshine have allowed it to become one of Egypt’s top destinations. It has been
officially recognized as Egypt's most environmentally-friendly holiday destination,
and El Gouna management has worked hard in cooperation with local hotels,
businesses, residents and visitors to maintain, protect, and preserve its unique
environment. The town’s environmental programs and grassroots environmental
organization have won several prestigious awards, including Travelife and the Green
In collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
GmbH, Orascom created a centre of excellence in the German Hotel School, El Gouna.
In addition the Green Star Hotel Initiative aims to improve environmental standards
in the Egyptian hotel industry: El Gouna has served as the pilot location, and the
progress that has been made over the course of the previous year has illustrated that
a national ecolabel can serve as a valuable tool in combating the environmental risks
posed by the country’s rapidly expanding tourist sector. Green Star Hotel, developed
as a public-private partnership involving the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, AGEG
Consultants, Orascom and Travco, is the first ecolabel designed to address the specific
conditions of hotels and resorts in the Egyptian tourist industry with the aim of
minimizing their impact on the environment while maximizing their appeal to foreign
El Gouna has installed farming projects to locally grow organic products and produces
a great variety of highly beneficial organic fare. The farm has received certification
under the US National Organic Standards for organic produce, as well as certification
from the Centre of Organic Agriculture in Egypt, which operates in accordance with
EU standards. The town's food waste goes to feeding farm animals, while organic
waste is used as fertilizer for the surrounding landscape.
El Gouna produces its own water by desalinating sea and well water and utilizing
treated waste water for irrigation of the golf course and greenery throughout the
El Gouna practices garbage separation and recycles materials locally, a zero-waste
management system has been implemented and over 85% of El Gouna waste is
recycled. El Gouna‘s Solid Waste and Recycling Plant was established in the early
1990s. There is also an ongoing campaign in El Gouna to eliminate the use of plastic
bags, and replace them with recyclable paper bags or other re-usable materials.
Rationale and
justification for
Growth in tourist numbers in recent years has increasingly put pressure on the fragile
environment. El Gouna is widely regarded as the one of most successful green field
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
developments on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera.
Details of
and operation
Orascom Development Holdings AG is a publicly quoted property development
company with 14,700 employees which engages in the development of integrated
towns in Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Switzerland, Morocco, the
United Kingdom, Montenegro, and Romania.
In 2002, Orascom, in collaboration with GIZ launched the pilot Green Gouna initiative
which has evolved into the nationwide Green Star Hotel initiative which aims to
implement environmentally sustainable management into Egypt’s hotel industry.
The Green Star Hotels Initiative rates hotels by their environmentally-sound quality
standards, such as waste recycling, water management, planting projects. The
initiative provides a practical toolkit in the form of a guidelines manual, graphic
marketing tools and training tools and applies the standards of the VISIT Association
In 2012, when the programme was being launched nationwide, 34 out of the 51 hotels
across Egypt were actively participating in the pilot schemes were already Green Star
Hotel Certified. (
Key success
features and
Sources of
Commitment to high quality design and master planning
Commitment to the highest environmental standards
Strong corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Commitment to education
Replication in other developments
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourists do not recognise administrative boundaries. Their interests and activities typically
span several local administrations and multi-country itineraries are common. This creates the
need for collaboration and cooperation, including the harmonisation of border entry
requirements, leading to significantly increased tourist activity. Through a regional approach
to forms of tourism product development based on interests and themes that transcend
national boundaries, and a regional approach to marketing them, the whole can certainly
exceed the sum of the parts.
There are many examples of countries forming regional association (e.g. PATA–Pacific Asia
Travel Association; CTO–Caribbean Tourism Organization; ETC–European Travel
Commission). The UNWTO, by virtue of its extensive 156 state membership, is at the forefront
of encouraging and facilitating regional cooperation projects, mainly in respect of destination
region marketing and promotional strategies and campaigns, and human resource
development programmes.
The concept of a Silk Road tourism project was first raised at UNWTO’s General Assembly in
Indonesia in 1993. Encouraged by renewed interest in the Silk Road – for cultural exchange,
trade and tourism, UNWTO decided to revive the ancient routes as a tourism concept, uniting
three continents. Working closely with UNESCO, UNWTO Silk Road Programme linked 25
countries as diverse as Italy, Uzbekistan and Japan together, offering a travel concept focussed
on cultural and natural heritage, and travel diversity (Land and Sea routes). It established a
tourism concept which benefits both host communities (capacity building programmes, local
empowerment, business networking, etc.) and travellers (by creating a more enriching travel
experience). An annual action plan is implemented through the Silk Road Task Force consisting
of nominated representatives from National Tourism Organizations, UN agencies, and the
private sector.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Title & URL
UNWTO Silk Road Programme
Type of good
Regional cooperation between different countries
The UNWTO Silk Road Programme is a collaborative initiative aiming at enhancing
sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route. The programme
comprises 31 member states, 17 of which are COMCEC states88.
The key objective of the Silk Road Programme is to support the adjacent communities
in maximizing the benefits of tourism while stimulating investment and promoting
the conservation of the route's natural and cultural resources. This is being achieved
through greater cooperation between the Silk Road countries and by creating a
unique Silk Road travel experience.
The ancient Silk Road, dating back to 200 BC, was an important vehicle for trade and
formed a channel of contact between the East and the West, especially between the
ancient empires of China, India, Persia and Rome. It inspired the exchange of dialogue,
Silk Road Programme member states:
COMCEC Members
Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Non-COMCEC Members
Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, DPR Korea, Rep. Korea, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mongolia,
Russia, San Marino, Ukraine
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
art, religion, ideas and technology. On a route of 12,000 kilometers this diverse
cultural heritage, together with the natural attractions alongside the route, forms the
basis for a differentiated tourism experience.
The UNWTO pursues the intended objectives by focusing three key areas of activity:
First, a universal Silk Road brand identity and image is being marketed, e.g. by the
development of a comprehensive Silk Road website and by promoting positive news
stories and improving the accessibility of information on the destinations. Secondly,
UNWTO implements capacity building programmes for destination management and
heritage conservation and supports the development of the tourism routes for a
better connectivity. Finally travel within the adjacent destinations and across
international borders is being facilitated, e.g. by working towards the development of
a Silk Road tourist visa.
Rationale and
justification for
The Silk Road Programme is an excellent example of successful tourism cooperation
amongst a cluster of very diverse countries, more than half of which (17 out of 31) are
COMCEC member states.
The UNWTO in its role as leader of the Silk Road Programme provides the basis for
this corporation and hereby facilitates the process of developing a collective tourism
Details of
and operation
There are four key groups responsible for managing and implementing the major
activities, which are the UNWTO, other UN Agencies, the Silk Road Task Force and the
Silk Road Member States.
The UNWTO as leader and driver of the Silk Road Programme provides the
collaborative platform for the building alliances; it coordinates the logistics and major
events and communicates the progress.
The input, endorsement and support of diverse stakeholders is essential for the
success of the Silk Road Programme. Other stakeholders include UNWTO Affiliate
Members and private sector stakeholders, Partner UN agencies, Educational
institutions and NGOs and other entities.
Key success
features and
Sources of
Maximizing tourism benefits for all Silk Road destinations
Development of a seamless tourism product
Strengthening cooperation of the Silk Road stakeholders
Commitment for sustainable tourism development through improved cultural
and environmental management
Coordinated marketing of a universal Silk Road identity
Capacity building programmes focused on destination management and
heritage conservation
Travel facilitation, e.g. through development of Silk Road tourist visa
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
A number of countries are developing major leisure complexes associated with international
brands. This is particularly relevant in the Middle East targeting the family market from Saudi
and other oil rich states, as well as the Asian tourist who is strongly attracted to high profile
branded goods, and the western holidaymaker. Examples are:
 the developments in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi (featuring Ferrari World – the largest
indoor amusement park in the world, Yas Marina round which is the Formula One
motor racing circuit, the Warner Bros theme park, Yas Waterworld as well as a range
of hotels and what is claimed to be the “world’s most complete shopping experience”),
 planned developments in Qatar (in Lusail City ahead of the 2022 FIFA Soccer World
These integrated entertainment, events and resort complexes are targeted at the luxury tourist
identified in sub-section as a growth segment. The justification for such developments is that
they use land areas without any significant environmental quality and where there are small
existing populations, thereby making the economic justification more telling. The Yas Island
development, for example, transformed 75km² of desert into what the developers say is a
“leisure oasis”.
Sport combined with entertainment is a powerful draw, reflecting the worldwide interest
through satellite broadcasting of major international sports competitions and events, and the
increasingly sophisticated marketing and merchandising of products related to the most
famous players in the featured sports. One of the world’s biggest and best supported football
clubs, Real Madrid, is developing the world’s first ‘sportainment’ destination on Al-Marjan
Island in Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates. The island is to be home to where
UAE's first Waldorf Astoria, Rixos Bab Al Bar, DoubleTree by Hilton and the Real Madrid
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Real Madrid at RAK
Sports tourism
Master planning
Brand alliance
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The 50-hectare Real Madrid resort will be the flagship of the Al-Marjan Development
and aims to attract one million visitors a year when it is completed. RAK had been
chosen for the pioneering project due to the Emirate’s location, equidistant between
Europe and the Far East, home to half the estimated 300 million fans and followers of
the club.
The first recreational tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark will be
a comprehensive sporting destination complete with luxury hotels, a marina and
amusement park featuring the use of latest technologies such as hologram animations.
It will also house a 10,000-seat stadium, the first in the world to open directly open to
the sea, as well as sports facilities, a club museum, shopping mall, private beaches and
residential areas. The development is a decisive step forward towards the Emirate
becoming a tourism destination in its own right. By 2021, RAK expects around 20
percent of its GDP will be generated by tourism-related activities.
Rationale and
justification for
Details of
and operation
Key success
features and
Sources of
This is a good example of major tourism investment designed to attract specific niche
markets of scale.
The project has been developed as part of RAK’s tourism master plan which aims to
position the Emirate as a premier affordable luxury destination for leisure, adventure
and business travel.
Market-led development
Master planning
The case studies included in this Study all illustrate good practice. They cover a wide range of
types and approaches to tourism product development and marketing. Taken together they
illustrate the need for:
 clear vision and guidance from government
 detailed and integrated long range planning, with short term action plans to bring
about implementation
 consultation with, and collaboration between, all stakeholders i.e. public authorities,
private sector and communities,
 a continuing search for product and market development and diversification
 an imaginative approach to tourism product development that recognises and
responds to changes and trends in the marketplace, and the emergence of new
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
markets, segments and niches, BUT which also places a high value on features and
attributes that are indigenous and authentic to the destination,
 a highly focussed commitment to sustainable tourism product development that meets
the economic/socio-cultural and environmental triple bottom line criteria,
 a flexible and dynamic approach to destination marketing embracing modern
technological developments to best demonstrate the attractions of the destination
through audio-visual means, and third party endorsement.
The primary lesson from the non-COMCEC country case studies is the importance of a strong
government institutional structure for tourism staffed by professionals fully versed in all
aspects of tourism development planning and marketing, who are committed to the process of
consultation and prepared to act on the consensus views emerging from the process. The
preparation of a clear framework to guide future tourism product development is the essential
output from the government institution responsible for tourism (see case study 2.3.1).
The non-COMCEC country case studies illustrate how tourism can be developed and managed
to avoid the occurrence of the negative aspects of tourism development, and to do so by
responding to tourist market trends for tourism development to be sustainable and
responsible while providing direct access to the cultural and natural heritage of the
destinations they choose (case study 2.3.4).
A further important indicator from the non-COMCEC country case studies is that of
collaboration and cooperation:
 between different councils and stakeholders in the case of the Lake District (case study
 between public and private sector (case study 2.3.3 Alaska cruise), and
 between all stakeholder groups, including local communities (case study 2.3.5
Forodhani Park).
The ability of a country to exploit new market opportunities (case study 2.3.6 Australia Youth)
and to re-establish its tourism sector after major disruption (case study 2.3.7 Kenya Recovery)
represent good models for other destinations.
The COMCEC country case studies illustrate the full range of types and scales of tourism
product development, from small scale community-focussed (case studies 4.1.2, 4.1.4 and
4.1.8) to large scale, integrated, international-style development (case studies 4.1.1 and
The case studies show very strongly the determination of countries to use tourism for their
maximum benefit but not to suffer from over-development or inappropriate development.
Principles of sustainable and responsible tourism are central to several case studies (case
studies 4.1.5 and 4.1.6).
The well-established destinations are examining and planning for diversification of their
tourism sectors both to achieve growth and to spread the benefits more widely within their
countries (case studies 4.1.2, 4.1.3 and 4.1.9).
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The least developed countries are seeking to develop tourism that is appropriate and based on
their natural and cultural resources, looking for opportunities to increase backward linkages
(case studies 4.1.4, 4.1.5, and 4.1.8).
The use of technical and other forms of assistance from international agencies is common and
can be highly effective (case studies 4.1.5, 4.1.6, 4.1.8 and 4.1.11).
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The principal conclusions arising from the various strands of research and enquiry are drawn
together in this final section of the Study, focussing on the lessons to be learnt from the case
studies. Recommendations are presented that both apply across all COMCEC countries and
address the many challenges and difficulties faced in building up their tourism sectors. Finally,
a series of specific recommendations are outlined: first, for COMCEC countries with wellestablished or rapidly developing tourism sectors; and, secondly, for those COMCEC countries
with least developed economies. The final sub-section identifies the possible roles for COMCEC
in further assisting its member countries in expanding and improving its provision of tourism
products and experiences, and in designing and delivering effective destination marketing
The planning of tourism development requires incorporation of a wider range of factors than
is the case for other economic sectors, including:
 the tourism system of demand, supply and distribution,
 the values (expressed in the form of needs, expectations and levels of tolerance), both
of the destination community and of visitors,
 the relationships and inter-linkages between stakeholders in the three interest groups
(i.e. government and other authorities; private sector investors, developers and
operators; and the local communities in destinations),
 the prevailing planning goals, parameters and regulations,
 the issues of scale (i.e. carrying capacity, thresholds), and
 the requirements for tourism development to meet sustainable development and other
non-economic goals.
Products and markets are mirror images of each other. In this regard, the starting point in
product development planning typically involves the preparation of a comprehensive
assessment of the destination’s overall political, economic, socio-cultural, natural, cultural and
historical products. In tourism, it can be argued that the role of marketing precedes the
development of the product. The marketer gathers information regarding the expectations of
the target market (the customers – both domestic and from the various international source
regions), and the destination then uses such information to develop appropriate products.
The changing pattern of international tourism, both occurring presently and anticipated in
coming decades, has the following main implications for destinations in respect of their tourist
product development and marketing strategies:
 A greater volume and range of tourist product types are needed, both to handle the
increased numbers of tourists and the changing mix of source countries with differing
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 Product development focussed on the natural and cultural heritage of destinations,
reflecting prospective tourists’ increasing knowledge about, and demand for direct
access to, these features of the destinations they visit, and
 Increased focus on product developments at two extremes: high end attractions and
facilities (responding to rising budgets); and local level, community developments and
activities (giving interested segments the opportunity to engage with the host
 A need to take the environmental and social implications of tourism development into
greater consideration, recognising that tourism development can have significant
negative impacts if not responsibly managed.
Once the overall priorities and policies for the tourism sector have been established, there are
five steps to the process of establishing the best product development opportunities and
bringing these successfully and sustainability to the market i.e.
1. establishing the present situation,
2. identifying the opportunities,
3. prioritising the tourism sector’s objectives, and
4. supporting the prioritised forms of product development through facilitation and
5. management and coordination
The establishment of a close working relationship between all levels of government and
tourism industry representatives is likely both to be more efficient and illustrate to local
communities that proposed new product developments have been well-researched through
multi-party dialogue. The process of consultation with all parties can increase understanding
and buy in from the population of the location where new developments are proposed.
A layered approach with a central product development planning division and a series of
tourism development coordinating committees at the regional level, working together through
both a regular forum and ongoing dialogue related to specific projects can be effective. Such a
systemic approach can ensure full and appropriate consultation with all stakeholder groups,
leading to coordination and collaboration in the development of tourism products that bring
out the distinctive character of all parts of a country and spread the socio-economic benefits
across its regions.
The case studies featured in this Study (and many other product developments and marketing
approaches referenced in the footnotes) illustrate the following sequence in tourism product
development and marketing:
Creating Awareness
Without government recognition of the role tourism can play in making a significant
contribution to an area’s socio-economic development, tourism will not realise its potential,
and risks being developed in an unplanned, haphazard fashion. Many of the case studies
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
illustrate how awareness of, and interest in, the product developments were generated by the
organisations behind the development as a critically important initial step e.g. the Forodhani
Park in Zanzibar 2.3.5.
Stakeholder Support and Collaboration
There are several illustrations in the case studies where the team approach – government,
private sector and the host community - has been vital to the effectiveness of the initiative.
Many such initiatives arise from dialogue between communities (or non-governmental
organisations reflecting community interests and concerns) and national or local
administrations e.g. Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative 2.3.3, ASSET Gambia 4.1.4, Thailand
Green Leaf 2.3.4, Malaysia Homestay 4.1.2, Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature,
Jordan 4.1.5, Al Shouf Cedar Society, Lebanon 4.1.6.
The two examples of effective cooperation between multiple administrations are the UK’s Lake
District – 2.3.2 – and the Silk Road – 4.1.11.
Technical Expertise
Insightful and appropriate planning of tourism product development and marketing requires
depth knowledge of tourist markets and the tourism distribution system, as well as the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of tourism development. This capability at national
authority level enables planning to:
 be complete and coordinated e.g. New Zealand 2.3.1
 facilitate the preparation of regional development strategies e.g. Turkey Belek 4.1.1,
Maldives 4.1.3
 identify growth development opportunities both in product types (e.g. Tunisia
thalassotherapy 4.1.9), and market segments e.g. Australia Youth 2.3.6
 better respond to difficulties in the marketplace e.g. Kenya Recovery 2.3.7.
Regulatory Management
Having a full and balanced understanding of all facets of tourism development and operation
also enables administrations to introduce appropriate interventions to ensure sustainable
tourism product developments e.g. 2.3.3 Alaska Cruise Shipping Initiative.
Commitment to Implementation
The availability of financial resources to implement product developments and marketing
strategies is a fundamental requirement, whether through governmental budgets, aid agency
grants, or private sector and community investment. This is clearly illustrated in the major
tourism product development initiatives e.g. Turkey Belek 4.1.1, Qatar Aspire 4.1.7, United
Arab Emirates Ras Al-Khaimah Real Madrid 4.1.12.
Maintaining the Momentum
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
It is imperative that progress on long term tourism product development projects remains in
line with the planned schedule; and also that the products retain their market appeal. This is
especially marked where multiple partners are involved. The preparation of annual action
plans as illustrated in the case of the Silk Road project serves as a good example - 4.1.11.
Role of Outside Agencies
Many of the case studies have received technical and financial assistance from outside
agencies. The case studies represent good practice though it should be noted that there are
also other examples where development agency support has been ineffective for reasons of
inadequate government guidance or other factors. Effective examples of outside assistance
featured in the case studies are Forodhani Park 2.3.5, Jordan Feynan Eco-lodge – USAID 4.1.5,
Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Lebanon – UNESCO 4.1.6, Benin – ITC-UNCTAD 4.1.8, and the Silk
Road – UNWTO 4.1.11.
Whatever a country’s stage of development or political and socio-economic system, if it
embraces tourism as a significant sector for its economic development, tourism product
development supported by an appropriate and effective marketing strategy is an integral part
of planning for the sector and should not be done in isolation.
Effective tourism product development should be in line both with market trends and tastes
(i.e. matching the product to the market), and the requirements, expectations and sensitivities
of the destination (i.e. government, private sector and population).
Sustainable tourism development necessitates tourism product development that is:
 original, authentic (reflecting the special attributes of the destination) and
differentiated from competitors to the maximum extent possible,
 supported by the people of the destination,
 respectful of the natural and socio-cultural environments with developments not
having deleterious impacts, and
 of a sufficient scale to make a meaningful contribution while avoiding high economic
To be fully successful as a tourism destination, the challenges and obstacles that hinder
development of its tourism sector need to be addressed by steps to correct or minimise the
problems. Three categories of challenges – deficiencies in technical, human and financial
resources – were identified in sub-section 3.4.1. Within these umbrella categories a set of 10
specific issues to be rectified were specified i.e.
government support,
border formalities,
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
human resources,
transport access and infrastructure,
market control,
local society awareness,
economic leakage, and
image and perception
Though these factors apply to all COMCEC countries, they vary in respect of the degree to
which they act to slow down tourism development according to the stage of tourism
development of individual countries (see Appendix 2).
The recommended actions by which COMCEC countries can seek to reduce this combination of
challenges are set out below:Institutional Structures
To be effective in planning, managing and marketing the destination, it is necessary to
establish institutional structures for tourism that:
 fully recognise tourism’s status and priority within the economy,
 ensure coordination with other government departments and agencies with
responsibilities that facilitate or impact on tourism, including at regional and local
 include formal (and, where necessary, informal, “open door”) links with the private
sector, providing a single source for information on policy, strategy, and investment,
 closely link tourism product development and market functions but not always in the
same department, instances where they are separate tending to be where the private
sector plays a strong part in developing, implementing and, part-financing destination
marketing activities,
 set up systems for wide ranging consultation with the triumvirate of stakeholder
groups (i.e. public and private sectors and communities) on major issues of tourism
development, and
 have a cadre of tourism professionals, educated and trained in tourism planning
techniques, marketing methods and, above all, the evolution of international tourism
markets and segments. In this way, a destination’s national tourism administration can
build respect and partnership with the international tourism trade, an important
consideration given the control that foreign operators exercise on much of the tourism
distribution system.
Turkey (4.1.1), Malaysia (4.1.2), Indonesia and Maldives (4.1.3) are all good examples where
such a set up has been established.
The tourism sector should be accorded specific recognition within governmental structures,
either as a stand alone ministry or as a department within an appropriate umbrella ministry
e.g. economic development, trade, aviation/transport, environment, culture, arts, sports.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The choice of tourism institutional structure should be made taking into consideration the
optimal position within government to achieve the essential coordination with other
government departments with responsibilities that impact on tourism e.g. transport, education
and training, environmental planning.
Planning Systems and Procedures
A tourism development planning system is necessary that comprises a long term vision and
perspective, a set of mid term development strategies and planned projects, and a short term
implementation plan, with lead and support responsibility identified as in the case of the Silk
Road 4.1.11). Plans should be monitored and adjusted as necessary in light of changes in
market conditions and other variables. A clear tourism product development investment plan
should be prepared and made available to interested investors/developers.
Value chain analysis should be a central element of planning in order that opportunities may
be identified both for enterprises directly dealing with tourists and for entrepreneurs and
communities supplying goods and services to the tourism operators (via backward linkages,
Benin 4.1.8). In this way, imports – economic leakage - for tourism operations can be reduced.
Tourism Product Development & Marketing Strategies
Understanding the types and scales of tourism product development and market opportunities
is the first essential step to developing a successful tourism sector. However, there are many
other areas for inclusion in a tourism product development plan if it is to realise the full
benefits for the destination, as illustrated below:
Market Research and Exchange of Information – market research should be the starting point
for all tourism product development and marketing. Destinations need to identify their
competitive advantages and pursue differentiated product development and marketing
strategies according to their unique selling points and competitive positioning. COMCEC can
play a vital role as the clearing house for the exchange between member countries of market
Market Opportunities – most COMCEC member countries assess their market potential
based on an examination of the trends and requirements of all tourist generating
markets. Within the global mix, they select those to target. Their priorities vary. There
exists an opportunity where the COMCEC member countries have a competitive
advantage which they should seek to take greater advantage of than is currently the
case, namely the 1.6 billion worldwide citizens across the wider community of
COMCEC countries. This advantage is based on shared values and beliefs, for which the
cultural riches in the many World Heritage Sites and other manifestations of cultural
heritage in COMCEC countries represent outstanding opportunities.
Sustainability as the cornerstone - the rise in all societies around the world of
awareness of the need to preserve and protect both the natural environment and the
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
distinct and distinctive cultures of peoples around the world has led to an increased
emphasis on sustainable development.
Sustainability has particular relevance to tourism, being of vital importance both for
the destination and the tourist. Tourist activity involves – and in many instances is
based on – the natural features and cultural heritage of the destination. Furthermore, it
involves the consumer (the tourist) actually going to the place of production (the
destination) and seeing (and experiencing) the form and scale of tourism. Feedback is
instant on sites like TripAdvisor so any weaknesses cannot be hidden. All forms of
tourism product development should, therefore, be based on sustainable principles.
Flagship and Cluster Development – as illustrated the Feynan Eco-lodge development in
Jordan (4.1.5) – the creation of a focal attraction or facility can spawn many other
tourism and tourism-related products and opportunities for local entrepreneurs and
communities. This is a highly effective model for tourism product development. A
more complex but effective approach to tourism development in a destination is to
identify and create partnerships for a series of attractions and facilities in a geographic
area and to feature these as a circuit, trail or touring route (e.g. Lake District 2.3.2).
Events and Festivals - the organisation of themed events and festivals can be a highly
effective way of developing tourism in three ways: encouraging business tourism
(through trade shows and exhibitions); rectifying seasonal imbalances (through the
organisation of a themed festival outside the main tourist season); and changing
market image and perception (e.g. through an event targeted at market segments that
might not otherwise consider the destination).
Human Resource Development – creation of the necessary supply of local personnel
trained in the skills and capabilities to operate and manage tourism attractions and
facilities is important for two reasons: it reduces economic leakage from having to
employ expatriate staff; and it contributes to the tourist experience by giving direct
exposure to staff who are native to the destination. Education and training
programmes should be a component of all tourism product development plans.
Quality Standards – similarly, the delivery of tourism products and services need to
meet the standards required by visitors. Standards of service need to deliver the three
skills of technical knowledge, linguistic capability and social skills. Certification
standards are laid down by many destinations in respect of the operation of hotels and
other tourist products, and the education and training qualifications of personnel
engaged in tourism operations.
Virtually all the COMCEC country case studies have both training and standards
improvement elements, in particular Malaysia Homestays 4.1.2, Maldives Gan/Addu
Atoll 4.1.3, Gambia ASSET 4.1.4, Benin 4.1.8, Tunisia Thalassotherapy 4.1.9, and Egypt
El Gouna 4.1.10. The Forodhani Park, Zanzibar – 2.3.5 – also has a capacity building
component starting from creating community awareness through to skills training.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Investment planning is a vitally important component of a destination’s tourism product
development and marketing plan. The achievement of the developments may necessitate
selective direct investment/financial support in the form of grant aid or incentives, particularly
in undeveloped regions within a country or in countries at the initial stages of tourism
development. However, incentives should be geared to specific development goals and subject
to time limits rather than being left on the statute book indefinitely.
As a guiding principle, it is better to trim down the ambition of a strategy or plan if finance is
not available through government or development agency sources, and investment from the
private sector is not forthcoming. If a plan is promulgated, components of which are not
achievable from a financial and investment perspective, the whole of the plan may fail to be
implemented given the necessity for all elements to be integrated.
One of the key demands on destination governments is the provision of transport and other
infrastructure to facilitate the movement of tourists into, and around, the destination, and to
ensure their comfort while staying in the destination. These heavy investments place burdens
on least developed countries in particular that hampers the speed and scale of their economic
development – both in tourism and other sectors.
Governments should maintain close contact with all potential sources of finance (i.e.
development agencies, bilateral programmes etc) and prospective private sector investors
identified as prime targets. Through its Project Funding mechanism, COMCEC will finance soft
projects serving to the infrastructural needs of the Member States.
Facilitation of Travel
The reduction of barriers to movement between countries is a key goal espoused by UNWTO
for several decades. Certain controls and checks are necessary but the adoption of visa on
arrival would greatly facilitate international travel, in particular between COMCEC member
Adoption of Modern Marketing Techniques
Unless tourism product development is supported through marketing strategy in the form of
marketing, promotional and public relations activities that raise awareness and develop
interest in targeted tourist generating markets and segments, it is unlikely to realise the full
benefits possible either for the country and local communities, or the individual product
investor and operator.
The pursuit of effective marketing strategy can only take place where:
 it has been developed based on the products and experiences offered in the destination
(i.e. product: marketing matching),
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 it is implemented through a carefully selected range of marketing communications,
promotional and public relations tools, with particular emphasis on all forms of
electronic marketing including social media networks, and
 it takes full account of changes in market conditions (i.e. the different rates of growth
and opportunity in individual source markets, the emergence of new and fast growth
segments, and competing destination activities)
To facilitate these processes it is recommended that COMCEC should take a leading role. It
should expand its initial steps in facilitating greater information exchange, skills transfer and
capacity development between its members, ideally on a sub-regional basis. COMCEC might
also further develop its own research capability, to provide detailed investigation into areas of
interest to its member countries.
Established tourism destinations like Turkey and Malaysia represent good models for COMCEC
countries that are already embarked on tourism development and are in the development
phase of the tourism destination life cycle but have not yet achieved major tourism destination
status. They are outstanding examples of planning for the diversification of their tourism
products to attract a broader cross section of the travelling public (i.e. domestic and
international, discretionary and non-discretionary purposes), to reduce seasonality and to
spread the benefits across all sections of the population. Other COMCEC countries with
growing tourism sectors can be well-informed by the examples of Turkey and Malaysia within
their individual resource limitations and socio-economic development policies.
The challenge for those COMCEC Member Countries with growing tourism sectors is to
maintain that growth by staying ahead of the competition. This requires research and
investment in tourism products for which they have the resources and attributes to develop,
and are compatible with the country’s socio-political system.
Product Development & Diversification
As a destination’s tourism product and reputation grow, so there is the need to increase the
product offering through development in other areas of the country and/or diversification into
new product types.
Designation of tourism product development areas or zones - this is an effective means to
express the individual strengths and identities within a country. Three examples from the
COMCEC region are:
1. Turkey – diversification of tourism product development through winter sports and
thermal spa resorts away from the established coastal area and city developments in
the country), thereby spreading the socio-economic benefits of tourism around the
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
2. Malaysia – creation of the Homestay product to integrate a wider cross-section of the
population in the tourism sector (4.1.2).
3. Maldives – regional diversification through the creation of a new gateway into the
country and the creation of opportunities for the population of that area in the
country’s tourism economy (4.1.3).
New Types of Tourism Product/Experience - the trends and changing tastes of the international
tourists reviewed in sub-section 2.2 indicate a raft of product and experience development
opportunities that destinations with a track record of tourism operation can seek to exploit.
Those with particular relevance to the 37 COMCEC countries that either have major tourism
sectors or are firmly on the growth stage of the tourism area life cycle include: cruise, older
generation and youth travel markets, high calibre hotels and shops catering for the luxury
traveller, cultural heritage, natural heritage – ecotourism, medical – health and wellness,
sports tourism, facilities for pilgrims and other religious-purposes tourists, MICE.
Marketing Strategies
Marketing investment by established tourism destinations is high in recognition of the
increasingly intensified tourism destination competition. The full range of marketing
communications, promotions and public relations activities are already used. The heavy use of
e-marketing, including social media is a growing trend in destination marketing. It is necessary
for COMCEC’s established and growth destinations to maintain – in some case, increase - its
marketing presence, especially when it introduces new types of product/experience which the
consumer may not associate with the destination. The marketing budget review process
should ensure that the criteria are established and used to measure the return on investment
for the individual types of marketing and promotional activity. In light of these measurements,
the components of future marketing and promotional campaigns may need adjustment.
In destinations with well-established tourism sectors, the private sector is expected to share
the execution of marketing activities in fulfilment of marketing strategy through joint tourism
promotion boards or some other form of combined agency or arrangement. This can entail a
separation of the tourism product development and marketing strategy roles, with the
planning and management of tourism product development fully within government, and
marketing linked to, but outside, full government control (e.g. Jordan). Even in such instances,
there should be the closest liaison between the dedicated tourism product development
function within government and the tourism marketing body.
Electronic technology permits ever increasingly sophisticated study of tourist markets to be
carried out. This enables segments and niches to be accurately and narrowly defined, with
products and services specifically designed to meet those which are characterised by growth in
demand. Corresponding marketing communications messages can be refined to turn this
potential into business for the destination.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The special challenge for tourism development in least developed countries (LDCs) is
1. LDCs are faced with major challenges connected with the health and welfare of their
populations. In consequence, tourism is seen by many administrations and societies in
these countries as an activity for the affluent to which it is inappropriate to accord high
2. the lack the expertise at government level about tourism markets, the tourism
distribution system, and destination competition, and
3. shortage of financial resources to invest in large scale tourism infrastructure
The following actions are recommended:
Tourism Awareness Campaigns
In order to increase appreciation that tourism based on the natural and cultural heritage of
LDCs can contribute to these countries’ socio-economic growth and improved living standards,
a two-part awareness programme is proposed.
For senior government officials, a series of study visits can be organised to successful tourism
destinations within COMCEC’s membership that illustrate the benefits to smaller communities.
Such initiatives can be facilitated by the offices of the COMCEC Secretariat.
At the community level, the lack of awareness and understanding of tourism can be addressed
through multi-media tourism awareness programmes, including public meetings, workshops,
radio and poster campaigns.
Tourism Technical Knowledge
A key challenge for all LDCs, and especially at the local administration level, is acquiring the
necessary depth of knowledge and awareness of evolving tourist market trends and how to
combat destination competition. It is proposed that a series of education and training activities
should be organised to create the necessary tourism technical skills at all levels of a country’s
administration e.g.
 academic study at established tourism institutes in COMCEC countries like Malaysia
and Iran,
 exchanges with other COMCEC member countries, facilitated and coordinated through
the COMCEC Secretariat.
Development Funds and Agencies
Attracting outside investment for tourism projects in LDCs, with at best only a limited track
record of tourism development, is extremely difficult. The options for LDC governments are:
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
 its own direct investment in “seed” projects to begin the establishment of a tourism
sector and stimulate outside investment,
 obtain development bank funding for significant tourism projects, or
 attract development agency finance.
Islamic funding sources have an increasingly important role to play. That is not to ignore or
disparage the technical assistance provided by international agencies and bilateral
programmes which will continue to work productively with LDCs in particular. All possibilities
and options should be continually monitored by governments.
Tourism Institutions
As noted in sub-section 5.2.1, the tourism sector should be accorded specific recognition
within governmental structures, either as a standalone ministry or as a department within an
appropriate umbrella ministry e.g. economic development, trade, aviation/transport,
environment, culture, arts, sports (the exact combinations used can be seen in Appendix 1). In
destinations with well-established tourism sectors, the private sector is expected to share in
the execution and funding of marketing activities.
Natural and Cultural Resources
The product development opportunities in LDCs are more limited than in countries that are
recognised in the global marketplace as established tourism destinations. In the survey
responses undertaken for this report, LDCs within COMCEC have recognised that basing
tourism development on their natural and cultural resources is a productive way forward.
Such an approach requires extensive involvement of local communities both as the providers
of tourism product and experiences, and as suppliers to tourism operators and tourists
(through backward linkages). Large scale tourism development is neither appropriate nor
realistic for such countries within the next decade or so.
There are many, typically small scale, tourist experiences that are appropriate for local
communities to engage in ranging from guiding on nature trails, demonstrations of traditional
life skills and handicrafts, cultural performances and training for adventure activities as
diverse as white water rafting, rock climbing, desert safaris etc.
Flagship Development
The realisation of the many small scale product and experience opportunities is greatly
enhanced if the destination has a magnet to draw tourists in. This can be a natural feature, or a
man-made attraction or facility like a hotel. The example of the AKFED TPS Serena Hotels is a
particularly effective one, the instance of Tajikistan being noted in case study 4.1.11. The
creation of a flagship attraction or facility is a route that other COMCEC LDCs may investigate
to their advantage.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Value chain analysis
The examination of all the cogs in the tourism supply chain through value chain analysis – as
discussed in sub-section 1.2 - is a recommended means for LDCs to maximise the opportunities
for local entrepreneur and community involvement in the tourism sector. It is an effective way
of identifying gaps and opportunities in the provision of travel and tourism goods and services,
both through direct services for tourists and through backward linkages suppliers to
businesses dealing with tourists (e.g. agricultural and fish supplies to the catering trade,
construction businesses, makers of handicrafts and other tourist goods to retail outlets).
Human Resource Programmes
While it is important for all countries to ensure they are able to supply the bulk of the
personnel required by tourism operations from its own population, the need is most marked in
LDCs. The levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education in LDCs are not sufficiently
advanced to product the necessary supply of personnel with the requisite technical, linguistic
and social skills for a burgeoning tourism sector. The employment of expatriate management
and heads of key departments like chefs is common in many LDCs, resulting in economic
leakage. Taking advantage of placements on courses in COMCEC countries with established
tourism vocational skills training programmes, and setting up similar training programmes in
the country, as satellites or under the overall direction of institutions in other COMCEC
countries, is necessary.
It is clear from the fact that tourism is one of the six cooperation areas identified in the
organisation’s overall strategy that COMCEC has a major role in facilitating the development of
“a sustainable and competitive tourism sector in the COMCEC region89”.
The critical area for COMCEC’s support for its members’ tourism sectors is as coordinator for
all areas of cooperation and collaboration between fellow COMCEC member countries. This
represents an increasingly valuable way of expanding the role and contribution of tourism in
the economies of those COMCEC Member Countries in the initial and development phases of
the tourism area life cycle. The shared beliefs and principles of COMCEC country populations
has the potential to translate into effective communication between them, and enable
countries to better develop appropriate facilities, attractions and activities to cater for the
burgeoning tourist demand from fellow Muslims. COMCEC can play a coordinating and clearing
house role in marshalling programmes of cooperation, collaboration and assistance for, and
between, member countries.
Consistent with the guiding principles of enhancing mobility, strengthening solidarity and
improving governance, the following activities are proposed for to be led, facilitated and/or
Making Cooperation Work COMCEC STRATEGY for Building an Interdependent Islamic World. COMCEC
Tourism Working Group. April 2013.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
coordinated by COMCEC is bringing the recommendations outlined in this report to successful
fruition. These are presented according to the output areas identified by the COMCEC
Regulatory Framework
Simplification and harmonisation of visitor entry requirements in COMCEC countries would
benefit the tourism sector and enhance the visitor experience, thereby contributing to the
organisation’s principle of creating greater mobility into, and between, COMCEC countries.
Capacity Building and Training Programmes
This area is one for extensive involvement by COMCEC as:
 both the provider, and clearing house for the exchange, of market and tourism
technical information
 facilitator and coordinator of education and training programmes involving, and
between, COMCEC countries
 technical assistance in the form of skills transfer, training and advisory services (e.g.
through the provision of training and technical assistance to local SMEs and
community tourism product developments through a “start up” and incubation
 funding of “soft” projects through grants provided by the COMCEC Coordination Office
Private Sector Involvement
The totality of COMCEC’s programmes of work across all six cooperation areas will serve to
raise the profile, and increase the standing, of COMCEC countries as suitable countries to invest
in, and do trade with. In respect of tourism, COMCEC’s role can be in communicating success
stories to the investment and business community both in COMCEC countries and outside.
These examples should be drawn both from well-established destinations and those that are
achieving strong growth, illustrating the attraction of such destinations to tourists and
successful tourism product ventures.
Community-based Tourism Programmes
COMCEC is already highly active in supporting community-based tourism as a means of
empowering local communities and increasing their share of the benefits from tourism. It is
clear that community-based tourism, taken to the level of “inclusive tourism” (see Benin case
study 4.1.8), is a model with considerable future potential in COMCEC’s LDC members in
particular. Working with governments and through international agencies, as appropriate,
COMCEC can assist in facilitating, coordinating and spreading the benefits of this approach to
tourism product development.
Making Cooperation Work COMCEC STRATEGY for Building an Interdependent Islamic World. COMCEC
Tourism Working Group. April 2013.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Marketing Strategies
In order to achieve its stated output of supporting the “development of effective marketing
strategies for raising awareness of the existing tourism destinations of the COMCEC region”, it
is proposed that COMCEC should study the possibility of facilitating the design and
implementation of joint marketing and promotional campaigns on behalf of the three regional
groupings of members. The models of the European Travel Commission and the Caribbean
Tourism Organization should be examined as part of this study.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Government Office
Responsible for Tourism
Ministry of Information,
Culture and Tourism
Ministry of Tourism, Cultural
Affairs, Youth and Sports
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Culture and
Ministry of Industry and
Ministry of Civil Aviation and
Tourism through the Multiministerial National Tourism
Ministry of Culture, Handicrafts
and Tourism
Ministry of Industry and
Primary Resources
Ministry of Culture, Arts and
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Transport and
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Youth, Sports,
Recreation and Tourism
Ministry of Tourism
Cote d’Ivoire
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Commerce,
Industry, Tourism and
Ministry of Tourism and Crafts
Specialist Agency for
Tourism Product
Specialist Agency for
Algerian National
Tourism Office
Algerian National
Tourism Office
Ministry & Azerbaijan
Convention Bureau
Tourism Affairs
(within MOIC)
Bangladesh Tourism
Board/ Bangladesh
Parjatan Corporation
Tourism Affairs
(within MOIC)
Bangladesh Tourism
Board (NTO)
Tourism Department
(in MOIPR)
National Tourism
Office of Burkina Faso
Tourism Department
(in MOIPR)
National Tourism
Office of Burkina Faso
Egyptian Tourism
Gambian Tourism
Egyptian Tourism
Gambian Tourism
Directorates of
Tourism Activities and
Enterprises, and
Tourism Fund (under
Directorate of
Marketing and
Promotion (under
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Ministry of Tourism
Guyana Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and
Creative Economy
Culture, Heritage, Handicrafts
and Tourism Organisation
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Industry and New
Ministry of Commerce and
Ministry of Culture, Information
and Tourism
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism
Iran Tourism
Guyana Tourism
Directorate General for
Tourism Marketing
(under MOTCE)
Iran Tourism and
Touring Organisation
Tourist Board of Iraq
(under MOTA)
Jordan Tourism Board
Tourism Industry
(under MOINT)
Tourism Sector (under
Tourism Department
(under MOCIT)
Tourism Industry
(under MOINT)
Tourism Sector (under
Tourism Department
(under MOCIT)
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and
Ministry of Handicraft and
Ministry of Trade, Industry,
Handicraft and Tourism
Ministry of Tourism
Malaysia Tourism
Promotion Board
(under MOTC)
Maldives Marketing
and Public Relations
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Culture and
Tourism and National
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
National Tourism
Organisation (under
Mozambique Tourism
Niger National
Tourism Office (under
Nigerian Tourism
Pakistan Tourism
National Office of the
Tunisian Tourism
Mozambique Tourism
Niger National
Tourism Office (under
Nigerian Tourism
Sports and Tourism
Wing of MOFA
Libyan Arab
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
Syrian Arab
United Arab
Ministry of Tourism and
Ministry of Business and Trade
Supreme Commission for
Tourism and Antiquities
Ministry of Senegalese
Overseas, Handicrafts and
Ministry of Tourism and
Cultural Affairs
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism,
Antiquities and Wildlife
Ministry of Transport,
Communications and Tourism
Ministry of Tourism
Committee of Youth Affairs,
Sports and Tourism under the
Government of the Republic of
Ministry of Culture, Tourism
and Leisure
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Culture and
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry Of Tourism, Wildlife
and Antiquities
National Council for Tourism
and Antiquities – federal
Ministry of Culture, Sports and
Ministry of Tourism
Qatar Tourism
Authority (under
Supreme Commission
Qatar Tourism
Authority (under
Supreme Commission
Directorates for the
Study and Planning of
Tourism, and Tourism
Regulation and
Structure (under
National Tourist Board
of Sierra Leone
National Tourism
Promotion Board
(under MOSOHT)
Suriname Tourism
Foundation (under
Suriname Tourism
Foundation (under
Tourism Authority of
National Office of the
Tunisian Tourism
(under MOT)
Ministry of Culture and
National Office of the
Tunisian Tourism
(under MOT)
Ministry of Culture and
Uganda Tourism Board
Dubai Department of
Tourism and
Commerce Marketing;
Abu Dhabi Culture and
Tourism Authority
Dubai Department of
Tourism and
Commerce Marketing;
Abu Dhabi Culture and
Tourism Authority
Yemen Tourism
Promotion Board
National Tourist Board
of Sierra Leone
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Arab Group (22)
Algeria; Bahrain; Comoros; Djibouti; Egypt; Iraq; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Mauritania;
Morocco; Oman; Palestine; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; Sudan; Syria; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates;
Asian Group (16)
Afghanistan; Albania; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Brunei; Indonesia; Iran; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Republic;
Malaysia; Maldives; Pakistan; Tajikistan; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan.
African Group (17)
Benin; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chad; Cote d’Ivoire; Gabon; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Mali;
Mozambique; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo; Uganda.
Others (2)
Guyana; Suriname.
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Least Developed Countries in the COMCEC Region91
Arab Group (6)
Comoros; Djibouti; Mauritania; Somalia; Sudan; Yemen.
Asian Group (2)
Afghanistan; Bangladesh.
African Group (13)
Benin; Burkina Faso; Chad; Gambia; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Mali; Mozambique; Niger; Senegal; Sierra
Leone; Togo; Uganda.
Established destinations with major tourism sectors (11)
Turkey; Malaysia; Saudi Arabia; Egypt; Morocco; the United Arab Emirates; Indonesia; Tunisia; Jordan;
Lebanon; Maldives.
Countries where tourism is in the growth stage of the tourism area life cycle (26)
Albania; Algeria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Brunei; Cameroon; Cote d’Ivoire; Gambia; Guyana;
Iran; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Republic; Kuwait; Mozambique; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palestine; Qatar;
Senegal; Sierra Leone; Suriname; Uganda; Uzbekistan; Yemen.
Countries in the early stages of tourism development (16)
Benin; Burkina Faso; Chad; Comoros; Djibouti; Gabon; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Mali; Mauritania; Niger;
Somalia; Sudan; Tajikistan; Togo; Turkmenistan.
Countries in the rebuilding phase after conflict (4)
Afghanistan; Iraq; Libya; Syria.
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Role Of The Tourism Sector In Expanding Economic Opportunity
Strategies For The Development Of Hospitality Smes In Kabul
Afghanistan's Tourism And Sports - Khurasan University
Plan For The Development Of Tourism In Theth For Dritan Koka
Tourism Projects Of The Development Cooperation
Regional Tourism Destination Of Korça (Albania)
Communication Of Tourism Product; The Case Of Himara
The Role Of Sme-S On Tourism Marketing – The Case Of Albania
Pro Përmet Consortium For Turism And Typical Territorial Products Promotion
Rural Tourism Village Tourism In Albania - Panacomp Travel
Community Based Tourism Development And Environmental Protection In Albania
Albanian Tourism Today
Republic Of Albania Ministry Of Tourism, Culture, Youth And Sports
Promoting Destination Algeria Requires Development Of Local Products
Algerian Embassy - Tourism And Culture
Algeria British Business Council 22-04-2013
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The National Strategy Of Tourism Development In Algeria
Tourism In Algeria
Institutional Support To The Ministry Of Culture And Tourism To Facilitate Effective
Development Of Domestic Tourism In Azerbaijan. Project Evaluation Report. UNDP. 2012
Policy Report On Tourism Sector In Azerbaijan. Center For Economic And Social Development.
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Cultural Heritage
International Conference On Exploring New Cultural Horizons For
Bahrain Leads The Way For Medical Tourism In The GCC
Bahrain - A Background - Economic Development Board
The Role Of Arts And Crafts In Tourism And Bahrain Economic Development
Tourism Industry In Bangladesh - The Daily Star
Tourism In Bangladesh: Problems And Prospects
Exploring Tourists' Perception: The Case Of Bangladesh
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Swot Analysis Of Bangladesh Tourism
Tourism Marketing In Developing Countries: A Study Of Bangladesh
22 Opportunities Of Developing Tourism Industry In Bangladesh
Marketing Strategies For Tourism Industry In Bangladesh: Emphasize On Niche Market Strategy
For Attracting Foreign Tourists
An Appraisal Of Tourism Industry Development In Bangladesh
Bringing Benin's Community-Based Tourism To Europe
The Strategic Plan For The Development Of Ecotourism In Benin Was Validated By Major
Sustainable Tourism - Programme For South-South Cooperation - Benin, Bhutan, Costa Rica
Tourism's Contribution To Sustainable Development - Unctad
Branching Out: New Product Development Could Spur Interest
Investment Opportunities
Brunei - Tourism Policy Group
Brunei Darussalam - FAO
Brunei Darussalam Tourism Report - AIMP
Culture And Tourism Of Brunei Darussalam - Slideshare
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Burkina Faso - Country Brief - World Bank
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Burkina Faso, Africa : A Tourism, Travel, And Information Guide To The African Country Of
Burkina Faso.
Kribi (South Cameroun) - Developing Ecotourism Products In The Coast Of Kribi
Ministry Of Tourism And Leisure
Ecotourism Development In Mwaam, Cameroon
A Community Wildlife Management Model From Mount Cameroon
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Chad - OECD
Priorities For Sustainable And Equitable Development Of The Tourism Sector On Mohéli, Union
Of The Comoros
The Tourism - Union Des Comores
Union Of The Comoros Country Strategy Paper 2011-2015
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Union Of The Comoros: Action Plan For Implementation Of The 2010–2014 Poverty Reduction
And Growth Strategy
The Union Of The Comoros - Isfd - Islamic Development Bank
Comoros - African Economic Outlook
Country Profile Comoros - Bk Consultants
Côte D'ivoire - World Report
Côte d'Ivoire: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Progress Report
Côte d'Ivoire - OECD
Investment Policy Review-Djibouti (Summary) - Unctad
Djibouti - Country Strategy Paper - African Development Bank
Country Profile Djibouti - Bk Consultants
Medical Tourism Development Strategy.Pdf - IMC
Egypt: Therapeutic Tourism To Egypt - Tour Egypt
Cruise Tourism In Egypt By Nathalie Gallaire On Prezi
Egypt Competitive Advantages: Introducing Attribute Importance And Performance
Egypt Tourism Sector Analysis - Research And Markets
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism And Sustainable Development In Egypt - Plan Bleu
State Information Services Introduction
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Gabon Tourism Profile 2012 | Globserver Global Economics
Tourism | National Planning Commission Website The Gambia
Gambia Responsible Travel And Tourism - Access Gambia
The Gambia Tourism Value Chain And Prospects For Pro-Poor Tourism
About GTA - Welcome To The Gambia.The Smiling Coast Of Africa
The Gambia Tourism Development Master Plan - Unesco-Unevoc
Challenges Of Tourism For Local Communities The Gambian Experience
12 Years Of Responsible Tourism Development: Lessons From The Gambia
Responsible Tourism Policy In The Gambia
Issue 3 CONAKRY, GUINEA Special Market Report - Horwath HTL
Guinea: West Africa's Cosmopolis Of Culture
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Investment - Guinea Bissau | Guine | Bissau Republic
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Guinea-Bissau - Destination Guinea-Bissau - Nations Online
Community Tourism Enterprise Development In The Rupununi
Tourism - Guyana Office For Investment - GO-Invest
Tourism - National Competitiveness Strategy Of Guyana
National Development Strategy (Guyana) - CHAPTER 20
Confidence In Our Tourism Product — Guyana Times
Guyana Sustainable Tourism Initiative Introduces New - Kirk Smock
Indonesia: Tourism Development Supporting Biodiversity Conservation In Pangandaran
Responsible Tourism Marketing In Indonesia.Pptx - IAJBS
UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) & Government Of Indonesia
European Market Demand For Indonesian Tourism Products - CBI
Strategic Plan For Sustainable Tourism And Green Jobs For Indonesia
Bobongko Community Eco-Tourism In The Togean Islands, Indonesia
Strategies For Iran Ecotourism - Idosi.Org
Investigating Effective Factors On Development Of Tourism Industry
In Iran
Strategic Planning Of Rural Tourism In Iran
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Tourism Management As An Economic Development Tool In Iran
Strategies For Development Of Iran Urban Tourism
Tourism Smes Development A Case Of Iranian Tourism Cooperative
Community –Based Tourism (CBT) Planning And Possibilities: The Case Of Shahmirzad, Iran
Promotion Of Investment In Tourism Infrastructure - Escap
Iraq Plans To Boost Archaeological Tourism | Mawtani
The Tourism Industry In Iraq - Izdihar-Iraq.Com
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Jordan Tourism Strategy 2011-2015
Tourism Development II | Chemonics
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USAID Jordan Tourism Development Project 2008
Jordan Tourism Cluster - Institute For Strategy And Competitiveness
Jordan's Tourism Strategy And Aspirations For The Future - JEDCO
Jordan Investment Board - Tourism
About Development Of Tourism In The Republic Of Kazakhstan
Tourism Industry - Invest In Kazakhstan
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Kazakhstan To Develop Adventure Tourism In Western Regions
Kazakhstan Interested In Belarus' Experience In Promoting Rural Tourism
Tourism Industry Committee Of The Ministry Of Industry And New Technologies Of The Republic
Of Kazakhstan
$13billion Infrastructure Investment Underpins Kuwait Tourism Development Goals
Kuwait TV Plus To Air A Documentary On Tourism Sites In The Southern Saudi Arabia
Kuwait To Double Tourist Arrivals To 1 Million | Al Bawaba
Change Or Lose Tourists Forever - Kuwaiti Tourism Experts | Al Bawaba
Kuwait Developing Tourism Plan Says UNWTO
Kuwait's Tourism: Kuwait As A Tourism Destination - Marcopolis
Kyrgyzstan Tourism Market - Embassy Of The United States Bishkek
Survey Of Tourism Market In Kyrgyzstan - USAID Local Development
Tourism Strategy 2011 - USAID Local Development Program
Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism Association (Kcbta) “Hospitality Kyrgyzstan”
Community-Based Tourism - Growing Inclusive Markets
Kyrgyz Tourism
Summary Report On Eco-Tourism Development In Kyrgyzstan
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
State Agency Of Tourism - Tourism - Kyrgyzstan
The Lebanon Mountain Trail Project
Copy Of Lebanon Eco Tourism 19.11 - UNEP
Food And Wine Tourism In Post-War Lebanon
Ehmej Tourism Management Plan - Baladiyat
Major Industries Lebanon, Economic Social Indicators, Banking, Tourism
Destination Libya: Developing Libya As An Internationally – Competitive Tourism Destination
The Development Of The Tourism Industry In Libya
Analysis Of Tourism Development In Libya - Ethesis
Libya's Revolution To A Tourist Resort - The National
Post-Gaddafi Libya: What Does The Economy Look Like?
Libya's Languishing Aviation And Tourism Sectors Set For Revival Following Gaddafi Overthrow
Malaysia Country Report 2012 - World Tourism Organization UNWTO
Tourism Development And Change In Small Islands
Tourism Industry In Malaysia The Experience And Challenge
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Policy And Tourism Development Strategy Towards Tourist Friendly Destination In Kuala
Incentives For The Tourism Industry
Planning & Developing Tourism Products: The Malaysia Experience
Islamic Tourism Centre
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Fourth Tourism Master Plan 2013-2017 Volume 2: Background And Analysis
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Development Of Tourism In Maldives - Ijsrp.Org
Maldives Destination Development Strategies Towards Green Touris
Maldives Tourism Promotion Board News | Breaking Travel News
Paper 8: Environmental Changes In The Maldives: Current Issues For Management
Climate Change Vulnerability And Adaptation Assessment Of The Maldives Land And Beaches
1 - Institute For Social Sustainability - Murdoch University
Sustainable Resort Development In Sensitive Environments
National Adaptation Programme Of Action - Maldives
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Environmental Impact Assessment For The Proposed Development Of A Golf Course At
Shangri‐La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Addu Atoll, Maldives
The Contribution Of Tourism To Economic Growth And Food Security
Heaven On Earth? The Development Of Tourism In The Dogon Country And The Hombori
Mountains (Mali)
Download (Pdf, 549kb) - SNV
Tourism, The Key To Development In The Dogon Area Of Mali - SNV
The Case Of The Programmatic Approach In Tourism – Inhambane Peninsula, Mozambique. “A
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Ancient Ksour Of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt And Oualata
Tourism In Mauritania – ASSECAA
Morocco Tourism Investment Forum
Morocco Tourism, Responsible, Fair And Sustainable
Invest In Morocco - Tourism
Vision 2020 For Tourism In Morocco - OECD
Conservation Indicators For The Tourism Industry In Morocco
Consolidation The Competitiveness Of Morocco As A Tourism Destination
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Strategic Plan For The Development Of Tourism In Mozambique (2004 – 2013)
Economic Potential Of Tourism In Mozambique
Tourism Sector Mozambique IV
Promoting Cultural Tourism In Mozambique - International Trade Centre
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M Bi Mozambique Africa's Emerging Tourism & Investment
Via@ - Tourism And Identity Processes
Niger State Commissioner For Tourism And Culture
Niger - India-Africa Investment Gateway
Nigeria Official Tourism Website
Nigeria: Tourism In Nigeria - Online Nigeria
Interview With Otunba Runsewe, Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation
New Chapter For Tourism As Nigeria Unveils Tourism Brand | The Nation
Nigeria Is Betting On E-Tourism Products To Revamp The Industry
We'll Focus More On Transformation Of Domestic Tourism – NTDC DG, Sally Mbanefo
Nigeria Tourism Investment FTAN, FCT Tourism Investment
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
The Federal Republic Of Nigeria Tourism Development Strategy
Structure - Oman Ministry Of Tourism
Developing Geotourism In Oman Salem Al Mamari
Tourism In Oman Oman To Evaluate Tourism Sector, Prepare Comprehensive Development
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Destination Palestine: Tourism's Denied Potential
As A Continuation To Sustainable Tourism Development Project In Palestine, MOPAD And
Ministry Of Tourism Sign An Agreement With JICA
Master Plan
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Qatar Tourism Authority Launches 'Eid Al Fitr & Eid Al Adha Festivals'
Decade Of Tourism Development Underway In Qatar
Tourism Investment In Saudi Arabia
The Supreme Commission For Tourism
Saudi Arabia Signs $89 Million Of Tourism-Development Contracts ...
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Senegal - Country Strategy Paper - African Development Bank
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Competitiveness Assessment Of Tourism In Sierra Leone
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Tourism Spearheads Re-Branding Strategy For Sierra Leone
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Ending Somali Piracy Will Need On-Shore Solutions And International Support To Rebuild
Suriname Tourism Development Bureau
Development Through Ecotourism In The Interior Of Suriname
Tourism Ministry Seeks To Establish Its Identity As Distinct Tourist Destination
Sector Study And Value Chain Analysis Of The Tourism Sector In Syria
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Ethical Tourism In Tajikistan: A Path Out Of Poverty
Tourism In Tajikistan
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Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
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Mass Beach Tourism And Economic Growth: Lessons From Tunisia
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Tunisia Increasing Tourism Promotion And Development
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Tourism Master Plan For Kars And Local Economic Development (LDITD) Grant Scheme
Mass Tourism Effects On A Coastal Historical Town - Coğrafya
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
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Tourism Role In The Development Of Coastal Bandar Turkmen Bazaar
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Tourism In Dubai: Overcoming Barriers To Destination Development
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
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The Role Of Niche Tourism Products In Destination Development
Tourism Product Development and Marketing Strategies in the COMCEC Region
Uzbekistan`S Tourism Sector - An Unrealized Potential
Uzbekistan Adopts Programme On Tourism Development In Khorezm Region
Tourism As A Locomotive Of Economic Development - Uzbekistan Today
Development Of Tourism Sector Is Main Priority – Premier
Yemen To Invest US $1 Billion In Tourism Drive
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